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Beyond the Bale : March 2018
A STRONG START TO 2018 The increasingly strong prices for Australian wool that we saw in 2017 have continued this year, with the EMI well above 1,700 cents so far during 2018. These robust prices are fundamentally a result of a strong and consistent demand for our fibre. AWI’s marketing in key northern hemisphere markets has been successfully cementing Australian wool as a premium fibre for which consumers are willing to pay a premium price. However, I believe that Merino is a $20-fibre, because cashmere is a $120-fibre and the fibre characteristics of cashmere and wool are precisely the same. While cashmere is slightly finer on average, Australia has Merino wools that are as fine as cashmere and have a better length. Hear more of my thoughts on the wool market and how sustainable it is, in episode 25 of The Yarn. The Yarn is AWI’s free podcast, launched 18 months ago, which has gone from strength to strength with 30 episodes released and a growing audience of Australian woolgrowers listening in on their smartphone or computer. All episodes of The Yarn are available at www.wool.com/podcast. I recommend that you take a listen. WILD DOG COORDINATORS I am pleased to announce that AWI has extended the funding for a wild dog coordinator in north-east NSW for a further three years. Dave Worsley, who has been the very successful coordinator since May 2015 will continue in the role, helping woolgrowers and other key stakeholders to work together to lessen the impact of livestock predation by wild dogs in the area. As well as the north-east NSW position, AWI also funds wild dog coordinators operating in western NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia. Wild dog coordinators facilitate collaboration between landholders (in new or existing wild dog management groups) and with other key stakeholders, locally and across shires; they also help coordinate on-ground wild dog control activities. GETTING ON WITH BUSINESS We are continuing with initiatives to help increase the demand for wool through investments in marketing and R&D – from farm to fashion. Stuart McCullough Chief Executive Officer Australian Wool Innovation ‘BREED MORE MERINO EWES’ AWI continues to proudly support the Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders’ (AASMB) Breed More Merino Ewes campaign launched in September 2016. The campaign acknowledges the Merino ewe as the backbone of the Australian sheep industry. Merinos are achieving very profitable results for producers compared to other breeds and enterprises across Australia in a range of production systems and rainfall zones. By increasing Merino breeding ewe numbers in their enterprise mix, producers can take advantage of the enormous global fibre and food opportunities in the future. WOOLQ: E-SPECI RELEASED IN MARCH The first piece of WoolQ functionality, the eSpeci (an alternative to the current paper speci), is being made available this month. The developers of the WoolQ online portal have completed trials in a number of shearing sheds across the country, and the intuitive and user-friendly nature of the tool has been proven. As a result, anyone who registers with WoolQ can start using the eSpeci tool as soon as it launches this month. I therefore strongly encourage woolgrowers to register with WoolQ today – at www.woolq.com. Not only will you be able to use the eSpeci once it is launched, but you will be kept updated on further WoolQ functionality when it is released. See page 65 for further details. AWI GRADUATE TRAINING PROGRAM Joining AWI this month as part of an 18-month program are three Australian graduates selected to take part in the 2018 AWI Graduate Training Program. The calibre of candidates we received for this inaugural year of this program was outstanding. The program will provide the successful applicants with a thorough understanding of the wool supply chain from fibre to fashion. AWI is seeking applications next month for the 2019 program. I encourage graduates from a broad cross section of disciplines who have a background in or connection with the Australian wool industry to apply. See page 46 for further details. RAMPING UP REPRO WORKSHOP Inspection and preparation of your ram team is a critical part of the farm calendar to avoid unnecessary loss of production due to poor reproductive performance. AWI has therefore started rolling out a new hands-on workshop, held on-farm, to help ensure that woolgrowers get the most from their rams. Developed by AWI in partnership with Zoetis Australia, the RAMping Up Repro workshop aims to build producers’ confidence in managing their rams more effectively before and during joining. See page 38 for further details. The workshop complements AWI’s popular Lifetime Ewe Management course which helps woolgrowers maximise the reproduction efficiency of their breeding ewes. MERINO LIFETIME PRODUCTIVITY FIELD DAYS The Balmoral Field Day at Harrow in Victoria was held last month, giving woolgrowers an opportunity to inspect first-hand the progeny from the diverse range of sires entered at the site and grab a copy of the latest site results – see page 50 for details. This month the MerinoLink site at Temora in NSW and the Pingelly site in WA are holding field days on 16 and 28 March respectively. On 11 July, the Macquarie site located at Trangie in NSW will host its first project field day. Sites will have between 15 and 30 sire groups on display along with engaging speakers, material to get the most out of the results, the latest in sheep handling and recording technology, plus a chance to network with fellow Merino breeding enthusiasts. Head to the AWI website at www.wool.com/MLP for more information. 3 UPFRONT
In the Shops - March 2018