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Beyond the Bale : December 2012
selling more wool December 2012 Beyond the Bale 40 on-Farm The risk of strike is reduced by every 0.1 reduction in any of these component breech scores. The key breech trait scores producers should target are 2:2:3 for breech wrinkle score, dag score and breech cover score respectively. This combination can provide the equivalent protection to mulesing. The risk of breech strike increases quickly when any of the individual scores rise. aWI presented its third National Wool Research and Development Technical Update on Breech Strike Prevention in Sydney in August. Presentations were made by researchers from throughout Australia, including the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia, CSIRO, the Mackinnon Project (University of Melbourne), Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (Armidale), Cobbett Technologies, Sheep CRC, Joan Lloyd Consulting and Australian Wool Exchange. This article outlines the key messages from the August 2012 Update, and the direction of future research and development into breech strike prevention. breeding for resistance Good research and development progress has been made in breeding for breech strike resistance. Encouragingly, breech strike is both highly heritable and repeatable. Culling breech struck sheep is therefore an obvious way to reduce problems both now and in the future. There is also a strong relationship between key breech trait scores and the risk of breech strike. These traits include breech wrinkle, dag and breech wool cover and the range of these scores are shown in Figure 1. FaSt FaCtS l Research findings show an integrated approach to preventing breech strike remains the most effective strategy. l Breeding sheep resistant to breech strike remains a key tool for producers, by culling affected animals and using breech trait scores to reduce susceptible animals. l In high-dag country, managing dags is the greatest challenge for controlling breech strike. l Chemicals remain a critical tool but must be used carefully to avoid resistance developing. l Research and development is continuing into mulesing alternatives such SkinTraction®. Producers can take advantage of “curve bender ” sires when breeding sheep resistant to breech strike. Progress in the fight against breech strike Figure 1 breech wrinkle, dag and breech cover scores.