Wool harvesting a key priority for AWI

Wool harvesting a key priority for AWI

Woolgrower owned Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) is rolling out a series of measures to better tackle the many challenges of wool harvesting.

AWI Chairman Jock Laurie says this a multi-pronged approach that covers everything from further research into biological de-fleecing, shearing innovations, and increased training including of high school students.

“There is no single solution or technological breakthrough that will improve getting the wool off sheep. As an industry we have to work on this from many angles.

Biological de-fleecing has real potential to be a game changer. We have joined with the University of Adelaide on a three-year project to work out the ideal dose of a feed that generates a weakened zone of wool that would allow easy mechanical harvesting. The project continues years of collaboration with the University of Adelaide on this type of development stretching back almost twenty years.

Naturally we want to know the impact of the effects on wool growth, wool quality, wool strength, body growth, behaviour and the general health of the sheep.

But that isn’t the only area. Our recent wool harvesting open day at the Falkiner Memorial Research Station in southern NSW shows there are plenty of growers wanting to update their sheds or try different systems to reduce the catch and drag. We will continue to support them with the most up to date information.

There is even more training planned in the year ahead with 2,200 days planed over the next year. 900 in shed training days including for wool handlers, 800 days of novice schools and 500 days for improver schools.

We will also include specific training for upright shearing and will continue to work closely with shearing contractors and state governments to deliver the best possible training all over Australia.

This is about creating a more defined pathway into the industry, a more structured and accountable training model with the intention to have a sustainable wool harvesting workforce”.

AWI’s funding of biological de-fleecing is up to $1.4 million over three years, enhanced wool harvesting training is $10.5 million over three years as well.