Breed Association Wrap Up: Australian Perendale Association Inc.

Description of a Perendale Sheep and how to choose a True To Type Ram.


The Perendale is a sheep of medium size, active, alert, hardy, able to look after itself and capable of a good percentage of strong lambs. So, it is important to choose a true to type Perendale Ram.

The Perendale shows its unmistakeable Cheviot ancestry in its open white face, free of wool below the dark bold, intelligent eyes, and with a black open nose and medium length somewhat erect ears. The strong neck and carriage of the head (no horns permissible) allow ease of movement. The Romney ancestry is shown in size and its chalky-white fleece quality is 50-56 with a strong regular staple over the whole fleece, and a crimp that is well defined from butt to tip. It is soft to handle and bulky with good density.

The Perendale’s higher withers as opposed to level shoulders, and the upright carriage of its head, together with shoulders well laid back, and the correct amount of spring in the pasterns enable this breed to pick up their front feet easily. A slight slope to the tail head completes the ease of movement in hilly, rough country with minimum energy spent.

The firm and deep hindquarters are well set into the clean medium length not too heavy legs with black feet.

To top it all off, the Perendale ram works well over Merino ewes to producer good hardy first cross sheep, with a better fleece value than most other first cross breeds.

Well worth giving them a try!

Breed Association Wrap Up: Rare Breeds Trust of Australia

Rare Breeds Trust of Australia Sheep Coordinators Report

As the new Sheep Co-ordinator for the Rare Breeds Trust of Australia, one of my first tasks was to collate the numbers of some of our rare breed sheep over the past ten years to get a picture of where each breed sits and whether the numbers are progressing or regressing. Although some of our sheep are slowly increasing in number, the results overall were not very inspiring, particularly with regard to our breeds developed for wool.

Despite the fact we see current reports of excellent prices for wool, this does not translate to all breeds of wool producing sheep.  It is particularly difficult for breeders of rare breed wool sheep to market their wool as the sheep are generally in small flocks, making quantity an issue, so getting a full bale together would be virtually impossible. Fortunately, some breeders are value adding to their clip, by having the wool processed into combed top and selling it to hand spinners, weavers and felters, farm gate style. Thankfully, we now have mills like Cashmere Connections, who are happy to help the smaller breeders by processing small runs of fleece.

Three of our breeds that are really struggling are the three carpet wool breeds….the Tukidale, the Drysdale and the Elliottdale. All three are currently listed as Critical, with less than three hundred breeding ewes available, and with these three particular breeds, their numbers are  considerably less than three hundred. Unfortunately, it seems we have no market for Australian raised carpet wool. In this day and age I find this hard to comprehend as consumers look more and more towards locally grown and locally sourced produce. This is particularly disappointing with regards to the Elliottdale, which was specifically developed in Australia to meet the carpet wool demand, with the much sought after white wool with less kemp than the other breeds. Their future at the moment is looking very tenuous.

My hope for 2018 is to see an increase in the flock sizes of our rare breed sheep  and an appreciation of our Australian grown wool and its producers.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Safe and Happy New Year,

Sue Curliss

Sheep Co-ordinator

Rare breeds Trust of Australia

Well worth giving them a try!

Breed Association Wrap Up: Australian White Suffolk Association

Australian White Suffolk Association

The Australian White Suffolk Association has experienced a positive and proactive twelve months with a steady increase of new members and excellent on-property and auction results for stud rams, ewes and flock rams.

The quality and consistency of White Suffolks offered at stud sales across the nation was a credit to our breeders. White Suffolks received higher returns and better clearance rates than previous years with many sales averaging from $1,000 to $1,500 for flock rams. New records were set with a national record of $5,000 for a stud ewe and an on-property sale record in NSW for a stud ram at $21,000. This follows on from a national record set last year of $68,000 for a White Suffolk stud ram.

Our members are to be congratulated on the presentation and promotion of the breed at shows, sales and field days highlighting White Suffolks as leaders in performance, productivity and profits. The Association continues to grow with 30 new members joining in 2017 bringing our membership to a total of 372. This includes three international members with studs located in New Zealand, the USA and Hungary. Breeders are encouraged to utilise available tools like genetic testing, DNA sampling, recording systems and phone Apps to use the most up to date technologies for their breeding programs.

White Suffolks provide superior all round performance in wide ranging environments – consistent and measured rams producing high yielding carcasses able to hit the right fat specifications. This means a better bottom line for the prime lamb producer and the best eating quality lamb for the consumer.

Investigations into a branded lamb product to sell into domestic and international markets continue to remain at the forefront of our annual agenda. It is pleasing to see that our commercial register of White Suffolk sired lamb producers is continually growing.

This information is particularly important to scope the numbers, seasonal details specifications and areas where White Suffolk lambs are produced to support a branded lamb product. Commercial White Suffolk producers are encouraged to join our commercial register to keep up to date with branded product advancements. Access to the register is via our website,

A new range of corporate sponsorship opportunities have been launched in recent months. If you are interested in sponsorship please visit our website and download our sponsorship prospectus.

With wool and sheep meat prices hitting all time records now is an exciting time to be in the sheep industry.

Mercado Market Analysis

Wool and Merino Sheep Star in Stellar Year

with Robert Hermann


Twelve months ago, we were predicting a “water-shed year” for Merino sheep and the wool industry. The drought across the sheep grazing areas had broken, and it was expected that the pressure of increased supply of fine wool because of the drought would ease.

It was also thought that the decline in the flock would end, and for a short time this was the case with the monthly sheep turnoff percentage falling below the critical 10.5% level facilitating a flock increase. Fig 1.

Unfortunately, much of the sheep producing areas of QLD & NSW suffered again with below average rainfall, with the off-take again lifting as sheep producers sold off to adjust for the dry conditions.

In terms of supply we are in an unusual situation compared to the past 50 years; there is no evidence of a wool stockpile at any stage of the wool pipeline. Producers have for some time been disposing of wool as soon as possible encouraged by the improving market. This is evidenced by extremely low stocks of grower wool in broker stores. Exporters have been reluctant to build any pipeline stocks also; the rising price means greater requirements of cash to trade so they too have been more inclined to operate on a “just in time” trading model.

This has caused an interesting dynamic; on weeks where the market has retraced growers have increased the Pass-In rate, easing the pressure on price. The result has been that within a couple of weeks the market has resumed its positive direction and growers then sell vigorously clearing wool that was previously held. For the first time for many years this is creating a market without any stock overhang and a true “supply/demand” price signal.


The challenges on farm were made a lot easier with the wool price over 2017. All micron categories felt the benefit of year on year higher prices except for broad crossbred types.

To illustrate, the 19 MPG (which is now the median micron range for the Merino clip) began the year at 1630 cents posting steady improvement throughout the year to be above 2000 cents by the end of November. Importantly in US$ terms the improvement also came; around a US 300 cents lift for the year indicating that demand is sound and improving. Fig 1.

The benchmark EMI had a 22% improvement, rising from 1378 to 1676, with a similar % lift in US$ terms. The biggest movers were micron ranges finer than 18 microns, where 30 – 40% price increases were evident. The growing demand over the last decade was always there for finer wool, lighter fabrics and softer yarns; however, the increased supply because of the prolonged drought was masking what should have been strong price signals. The past year has allowed the price to rally in line with demand and easing over-supply of fine types.

This is also clear when looking at Basis, particularly the basis between 18 & 21 MPG. At the beginning of 2017 this premium sat at 310 cents, and by the end of the year it had doubled to 610 cents. Finally, a reward for fine wool producers who had maintained their flocks.

Cardings followed a very good 2016 with another outstanding performance, over the year improving 21% or 225 cents. This was on the back of a rally that first broke through the 1,000-cent mark in May 2015.

It was a tale of two markets for crossbred types; 30 & 32 MPG’s lost 7 – 8% over the year, while finer X bred types showed a 5 – 8% year on year improvement.


Clearance of bales through auction for 2017 averaged 39,424 per sale week, compared to 38,869 for 2016. There is also evidence that the long dominance of China for wool exports started to ease, with the traditional European destinations becoming more active especially in the fine end of the clip. This trend is welcome, and will be watched with interest in 2018 with an increase in diversity of destination hoped for.

The side dish

The super-fine end of the clip tends to follow similar price cycles to cashmere. This seems logical, both are elite fibres however the market place is small. While the prices track together generally, there are times of break-out which can provide a view of future market moves.

During 2017, the 16-micron price has rallied while the cashmere price has remained stable. This has resulted in cashmere prices appearing to be more attractive than 16-micron wool; although the difference is not extreme. Fig 1.

The current price difference (Basis) is suggesting that in the absence of cashmere prices rallying, there is little scope for further improved prices for its wool counterpart. Of further consideration, the dry conditions experienced in Eastern Australia recently will produce slightly more fine wool which could cause prices to soften.

While demand at present is more than adequate to handle current supply, the best hope for further fine wool price lifts in the face of increasing supply is for cashmere prices to lift.

Sheep prices

This has been another stellar year for sheep and lamb sales. While the specialist prime lamb producers have benefited, the increased prices have also been felt by merino producers. Mutton prices have remained above 400 cents CWT for most of the year, peaking in the winter above 500 cents for the National Mutton Indicator.Fig1.

Of significance is the November rally, usually the increased supply of lamb & mutton in the Spring causes prices to ease, this year we have seen a 25% rally between October & November.

Much of the mutton demand is emanating from South East Asia, where the consistency of mutton is perfect for slow cooked dishes; providing the meat protein and flavour while holding its texture in the dish. With the growth in income and corresponding appetite for increased protein in this region the outlook for mutton is very good.

Previously we have noted the improved price of Merino lambs sold through the auctions, especially relative to Trade Lambs. This trend has continued, and with strong demand for lamb is likely to continue.

The Middle East has been significant in building this demand; a Merino lamb is ideal for the “bagged” export lamb market.

There is an incentive for Merino breeders to focus their selection on meat traits in conjunction with wool production, as the resulting revenue from a Merino lamb suitable for slaughter is a handy bonus to the wool income. Merino studs and flock managers have responded well to this opportunity, and it will contribute in the future to greater profitability as well as reduced price volatility and risk.

Key points

  • The wool market has built on the improvement in price over 2017
  • This is also reflected in our customer’s bid prices indicating good demand
  • Fine wool premiums are returning to attractive levels
  • Merino lambs are providing significant additional income

What does this mean?

The Merino flock over recent years has declined steadily, however the good season, improving wool prices (along with a resurgence in fine wool premiums) should see the flock at least stabilise with the potential to increase.

The “fight for acres” has favoured cropping over sheep since the early 1990’s however the recognition that sheep pose a significantly lower risk when seasons fail, plus the improved returns from Merino sheep will see this battle on a far more even keel. In fact, there are now wheat growers who are considering the re-integration of sheep into their crop programs as a supplement to grain income as well as a diversification of revenue.

Overall 2017 has set the scene for a positive outlook for Merino sheep and a reason for optimism for the sheep and wool industry.





Centre for Invasive Species Solutions- CISS

New national research centre maintaining momentum to tackle pests

July this year saw the beginning of a new era in invasive species research and innovation, with the launch of the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions.

The national research centre continues the collaboration between government, industry and research agencies to build on the work of the previous Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, which had been running since 2005.

The Centre will include Australian Wool Innovation and Meat and Livestock Australia, ensuring the needs of livestock producers and graziers are addressed, particularly in relation to wild dog and rabbit management.

Andreas Glanznig, CEO for the new Centre said that after more than a decade of funding for the Invasive Animals CRC, Australia needed a permanent research centre to strengthen invasive species management strategies at landscape scale.

“We are now moving into our next stage of invasive species RD&E in Australia and working closely with key stakeholders to ensure governments and community have the tools to work together to provide innovative solutions to these big national problems,” Mr Glanznig said.

The first stage of the new Centre’s core research and development program will primarily focus on vertebrate pests and be built around the Australian Government’s $20 million investment along with significant investment from state government and industry partners.

The program will maintain key projects such as the National Wild Dog Management Coordinator, Greg Mifsud, who has been working with community groups and governments across Australia to ensure strategic and coordinated wild dog management.

Greg Mifsud, talking with some local landholders at a regional field days event about strategic wild dog management.

Greg’s role will continue to work with farming agencies to incorporate wild dog and feral animal management activities into national livestock production extension programs, to see feral animal control delivered strategically as part of on-farm management activities.


The Centre will again play a vital role in the biocontrol space. In March of 2017, the culmination of an eight-year Invasive Animals CRC collaborative research program resulted in the national release of the first new rabbit biocontrol agent in 20 years, known as RHDV1 K5 (a Korean strain of calicivirus).

The virus was released at more than 370 community-led sites across Australia, resulting in an average 42 per cent reduction in wild rabbit numbers at sites where the virus was released, based on coinciding spotlight counts undertaken pre-and post-release.

The new Centre will now lead the roll out of a recently developed 20-year rabbit biocontrol pipeline plan and ensure we have new landscape scale tools to stay on top of the rabbit problem - which can cause up to $250 million damage to agriculture each year alone.

Image left: Emma Sawyers, part of the rabbit biocontrol research team, is explaining to landholders about how to submit a rabbit tissue sample for disease analysis by our labs.

                     Image right: A rabbit is snapped by a remote camera eating some oats laced with the new rabbit virus – 4 hours after they had been put out.


One of our key community-led digital decision support systems, FeralScan, is helping land managers better understand invasive animal problems on their land through the reporting function. The FeralScan suite is now being utilised as part of the management programs for many land management and land care agencies across Australia.

Australia aspires to be a global leader in collaborative pest animal and weed research, development and extension and the new centre also aims to further develop our international partnerships ensuring our research is world class, increasing our capacity with the ability to create and learn from global programs.

For more information visit


Sheep CRC

WPA drives new innovation through Sheep CRC in 2017

2017 has delivered a series of new innovations from the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC), which are set to change the way sheep are produced.

Two major initiatives developed by the Sheep CRC in 2017 were the ASKBILL app, and a new DNA Flock Profile test for Merino breeders.

A pre-commercialisation trial of ASKBILL was launched in May 2017 and attracted more than 150 producers who have supported the app’s development through analysing its predictions and ease of use on their own properties.

The web-based app was developed with input from WoolProducers Australia with the goal of providing sheep producers with critical information for making sheep management decisions to protect the wellbeing of their flock and maximise productivity. It draws on information generated by biophysical models that use daily downloads of

climate data and weather forecasts to provide alerts in relation to key factors that can affect sheep production:

  • Flystrike
  • Pasture production and feed budgets
  • Live weight and condition score
  • Worm infection, and
  • Extreme weather events – heat and cold.

The predictive capabilities of ASKBILL, and the fact that it is customized for individual farms and the sheep that they run, means that it can be used to complement producers’ expertise and experience in order to help with management decisions.

The trial results have been encouraging with the app now on track for commercial release around April 2018. Feedback from the producers participating in the trial version is now being incorporated into the app design, while further work is being conducted with the Bureau of Meteorology to incorporate longer-term weather forecast components underpinning the risk predictions and production forecasts.

Merino producers will also hear more about the Sheep CRC’s DNA Flock Profile test in 2018 following a successful pilot program in 2017.

The test involves randomly sampling 20 young ewes for DNA testing, with their genetics then linked with animals of known breeding values from the Information Nucleus database. These linkages support a prediction of the flock's average breeding values, which are then scaled to Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) for major Merino traits, such as yearling weight, fleece weight and fibre diameter as well as the selection indexes for Fibre Production, Merino Production and Dual Purpose production.

Producer participants in the flock profiling pilot trial found the test extremely valuable in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of their flocks and using this information to adjust the selection criteria they use on RamSelect to obtain the right genetics for advancing their business.

All producers who purchase the test are given a free 12-month ram manager account on RamSelect which allows them to use their Flock Profile results and ram team data when undertaking future ram searches and purchases.

The Sheep CRC has also moved to place RamSelect on a commercial footing so that it can continue to deliver its valuable service to industry beyond the closure of the CRC in June 2019. Studs can develop their catalogue and list directly on RamSelect or via the Sheep Genetics sale catalogue system at a cost of $3.50 + GST per ram – great value when compared with other advertising options.


Media contact: Michael Thomson, 0408 819 666.



Australian Wool Innovations- AWI


2017 has been another extremely busy yet successful year for woolgrowers and AWI, particularly with wool prices hitting record levels.

AWI’s on farm R&D team saw the return of Dr Jane Littlejohn to General Manager Research, along with a significant research breakthrough that debunked the ‘myth’ that wool is a skin allergen. As part of AWI’s fibre advocacy program, these findings will deliver returns to growers by positioning wool as the fibre of choice to deliver skin health benefits and creating a new market segment for superfine wool for dermatitis sufferers.

AWI’s ongoing commitment to its breech flystrike prevention program has resulted in the new pain relief product, Buccalgesic, recently being registered for mulesing. Buccalgesic is one of the first commercial pre-operative pain relief solutions for the sheep industry. This year AWI also released a new Managing Breech Flystrike Manuals to assist growers.

AWI is continuing to fund its popular programs; Lifetime Ewe Management, shearer and wool handler training and

wild dog control groups, that all deliver great returns to growers. Over 3500 woolgrowers have participated in LTEM to date, lifting weaning rates on average by 10% and decreasing ewe mortality by 30%. AWI is committed to continuing the success of LTEM by supporting a further 1500 LTEM graduates by 2019. AWI’s commitment to wild dog control has seen over 160 community wild dog control groups supported to date, with 43 groups currently being supported. AWI is also continuing its important investment in wild dog control coordinators. 2016/17 saw the number of shearer and wool handlers trained increase by 23% to 5,236. This year for the first time, AWI funded training in the Shear-Jitsu technique, the new way to perform the catch and drag.


AWI’s work for growers hasn’t stopped at the farm gate though, with 2017 bringing in some of AWI’s biggest marketing collaborations to date. With 99% of Australian wool consumers located outside of Australia, AWI through its 13 global offices, have worked with key global brands to promote the benefits of wool to consumers worldwide. Standout collaborations include the likes of Tommy Hilfiger/Rafael Nadal, National Geographic, ICICLE, Burton Snowboarding and the World Surfing League. These collaborations generate global demand for Australian wool, which is critical for a thriving industry and for increasing returns for growers.

AWI’s Hong Kong Resources Centre continues to attract new and existing partners from educational institutions, manufacturers, designers, brands and retailers. The increased traffic has exceeded expectations in successfully profiling wool to a wider audience. In China, AWI are working closely with the major textile institutions and are soon to open a wool education centre with Donghua University, to ensure wool is at the forefront of textile education programs. AWI is also continuing work in product innovation with advances made in knitted sneakers and waterproofing.

Other major investments for woolgrowers in 2017 include build of the online Wool Exchange Portal (WEP) to increase returns to woolgrowers and promote competition, choice and transparency in the wool selling system to benefit growers. As well as investigating blue sky robotics technology for wool harvesting to reduce cost of production for growers.

AWI is always looking at new and improved ways of engaging and communicating with woolgrowers. In 2016 we launched The Yarn - a free, fortnightly podcast featuring interviews with staff and networks around Australia and the world. The latest episodes of The Yarn are now available to download or subscribe to at the iTunes Store or at


ParaBoss: your go-to place for sheep parasite control

ParaBoss, developed by the Sheep CRC, AWI, MLA and UNE, provides Australian sheep producers and their advisers with current, practical, proven and independent information to manage worms, flystrike and lice in sheep, as well as worms in goats. In 2019, cattle parasite control information will also be available.


Keep up to date

ParaBoss News is a free email newsletter that can be sent to you twice monthly. It has feature articles relevant for that month, and state and regional parasite outlooks from our regional contributors across Australia.

You can also follow our Facebook posts on our ParaBoss sheep page and ParaBoss Goat page.

Go to to subscribe to ParaBoss News and find Facebook links.


Integrated worm control programs are the most effective and reduce your reliance on drenches.  WormBoss provides straightforward procedural information to make an integrated program as simple and practical as possible for you.

This information is presented in regional Programs—8 regions for sheep and 10 for goats—that set out what to do and when to do it. The Programs have associated Drench Decision Guides—both an online interactive version, as well as a printable 2-pager—that you can use to make your day-to-day decisions about whether a mob needs drenching, and when to check next.

A comprehensive Drenches section allows you to find drench products on a variety of search criteria.


FlyBoss also provides strategies for integrated management of flystrike.

These include a tool that will assess your optimum times for shearing, crutching and applying treatments. It uses long-term weather data for your district to forecast flystrike risk times. This allows the tool to determine the times that will result in the least total amount of flystrike for you over the season.

A section is also devoted to breeding for flystrike resistance, including what traits you can select rams for or score replacements ewes on, and how and when to do this. These particularly cover wrinkle, dag and fleece rot: the key risk factors for breech and body strike.

However, the strategies emphasise the importance of you having a balanced breeding objective that selects rams and ewes with reduced risk, but continued productivity for your income earning traits.

The Products tool is shared with LiceBoss and allows you to search all registered products for fly and lice based on the pest to be treated, the chemical group and application method desired.

Emphasis is placed on biosecurity to maintain a lice-free flock. But vigilance is always necessary and LiceBoss provides comprehensive information about how you can identify lice and monitor for them in your flock.

Should lice be present there is extensive treatment information about choosing products and how you can apply them including plans for dips and details on how you can manage pressure and concentration for dips and jetting.


The sites have much more information than listed above, so have a look and subscribe—it’s free.

All the best for 2018 from ParaBoss.


Federation of Australian Wool Organisation- FAWO

1 December 2017                                                                                                            FAWO-17-129

Inaugural Australian Wool Industry Medal

The Federation of Australian Wool Organisations Inc. (FAWO) this year established the Australian Wool Industry Medal.  An initiative that recognises men and women who have made an exceptional and sustained contribution to the Australian wool industry.

The following recipients were presented with their Medals at the National “Wool Week” Industry Dinner at Aerial, Melbourne on 24th August.  Two recipients were unable to be present at this event and received their Medal on 22 November at the Wool Selling Centre in Melbourne.

The Inaugural Australian Wool Industry Medal was presented to the following worthy recipients:

Ms Nan Allison                                  VIC

Mr Robert Carter                               WA

Mr Rod Franklyn                               VIC

Mr Athol Frederick                            VIC

Ms Sally Martin                                  NSW

Mr Wal Merriman                              NSW

Dr Peter Morgan                                 VIC

Mr Geoff Power                                   SA

Mr Robert Ryan OAM                       NSW

Mr Barry Walker OAM                      NSW

Mr David Ward OAM                        VIC

Mr David Michell, Chairman FAWO, congratulated the recipients on their awards and thanked them for their contribution to the Australian wool industry.

Mr Michell said “These men and women have made a significant contribution to Australia’s wool industry over many years. They come from a range of sectors within the industry, from farming, to broking, trading and exporting, to service sectors. Their contributions have been diverse, ranging from administrative support to being industry leaders, from regional to national and international levels. I congratulate them all on receiving the Australian Wool Industry Medal in recognition of their service and contribution”.

“It is very timely that we acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of these outstanding people to this iconic Australian industry. Wool prices are now at record levels and optimism for both wool and sheep is high. The industry has faced difficult times over the past 3 decades and the contributions that these people have made has ensured that many in the industry can enjoy these more prosperous times.”

The Federation of Australian Wool Organisation is the peak body for the Australian wool industry. Members include:  Australian Council of Wool Exporters and Processors, Australian Wool Exchange, Australian Wool Handlers, Australian Wool Innovation, Australian Wool Testing Authority, The National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia, and WoolProducers Australia.

FAWO is now accepting nominations for 2018.  The 2018 nomination form is available at     Closing date is 1 May 2018.


Media Contact: Mrs Bianca Heaney (03) 9311 0103 or email