At Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), we’re investing in a diverse range of projects across the global wool supply chain. For WoolProducers June newsletter edition, we’ve highlighted projects from some of the different areas of health that we’re currently looking into – from sheep health, to sleep health, to pasture health.

Sheep health: RAMping Up Repro

To help woolgrowers improve the performance of their rams and increase their profitability, AWI, in collaboration with Zoetis, has developed RAMping Up Repro.

This new half-day workshop focuses on the importance of ram health and pre-joining management, giving growers an understanding of how best practice ram management can improve reproductive performance. AWI’s Woolgrower Education & Capacity Building Manager, Emily King, said “RAMping Up Repro provides a hands-on guide to practical ram examination and helps woolgrowers to manage their ram teams with confidence and make the most of their investment.”

The workshops are being rolled out across the country via AWI’s state extension networks, using leading local trainers. Sheep Connect NSW coordinator Megan Rogers says RAMping up Repro is a complimentary course to the successful Lifetime Ewe Management program.

“Topics covered include nutrition and condition, animal health and management, checking the 4Ts (teeth, toes, tackle and testicles), managing shearing, assessing for structural soundness, and all things in between,” Megan said.

For more information on upcoming RAMping Up Repro workshops in your area, contact your AWI state network coordinator or email

Sleep health: Wool for a proven good night’s sleep

In collaboration with the University of Sydney, AWI funded the first ever study to investigate the effects of wool, cotton and polyester sleepwear on the sleep quality of older adults (aged 50-70) under warm conditions.

Sleepwear plays several crucial roles in thermoregulation (the way the body regulates its core temperature), which is a main factor for getting a good night’s sleep. Overall, wool was shown to perform better than cotton and polyester for the majority of sleep quality parameters including:

  • Sleeping in wool reduced the time taken to get to sleep
  • Sleeping in wool resulted in less fragmented sleep
  • Sleeping in wool resulted in less total wake time

AWI’s Fibre Advocacy and Eco-Credentials Program Manager, Angus Ireland said, “the great value of these research investments on behalf of Australian woolgrowers is that we are now building a very solid and contemporary body of scientific evidence to support claims that wool is beneficial to a good night’s sleep. This will promote demand for wool in sleepwear.”

AWI now has its sights on future studies to identify benefits of sleeping in wool for other groups, such as menopausal women who often experience hot flashes and disturbed sleep, and shift workers who have disrupted sleep patterns.

Land health: Soybean Dwarf Virus mystery solved

Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) and Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) have collaborated with the Department of Primary industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) and the University of Western Australia (UWA) to uncover the cause of the recent outbreak of subterranean clover red leaf syndrome affecting large areas in southern Western Australia.

The collaboration resulted in the successful identification of Soybean Dwarf Virus as the cause of subterranean clover red leaf syndrome. Spread by aphids, the symptoms of the syndrome include red leaves, stunted plants and premature plant death, with outbreaks becoming more frequent and widespread. This is considerably concerning as subterranean clover is the most widely used annual pasture legume in WA with around eight million hectares sown.

To help growers prevent future outbreaks of the syndrome, a grower guide has been developed that includes an integrated disease management strategy.

AWI’s Production Systems and Wool Credentials Project Manager, Melissa McAulay, said that the results achieved are a great win for woolgrowers.

“Prior to this investigation, no-one had a clear idea of what this syndrome was. Through this collaboration, we were able to identify the issue and develop a tool to support growers and prevent widespread damage caused by future outbreaks of the syndrome,” she said.

You can find a copy of the grower guide here.



AWI can only undertake projects like the above because of your levy investment. Keep an eye out for your voting papers in September and don’t miss out on having your say