Bipartisan support of TPP-11 important for Australian wool exports

MEDIA RELEASE

15 October, 2018

Bipartisan support of TPP-11 important for Australian wool exports

Peak woolgrower representative body, WoolProducers Australia (WPA) is calling for bipartisan support of implementing legislation for the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11) in the Senate next week.

The TPP-11 implementing legislation passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support in September, and it is hoped the same will be achieved again when it is considered by the Senate on Monday.

WoolProducers Australia President, Richard Halliday said ‘Both sides of the Australian government must be focussed on enabling TPP-11, especially given that Australia exports 98 per cent of its wool.’

‘Passing the enabling legislation in the Senate will allow early ratification of TPP-11. This will benefit Australian woolgrowers as it will maintain market accessibility’ Mr Halliday said.

Wool exports to TPP-11 members totalled $35 million in 2017, with total Australian wool exports of valued at around $3.7 billion for the same period.

‘All tariffs on Australian raw wool exported to TPP-11 countries will be eliminated and within the TPP-11 region, products such as yarn made from Australian wool in partnering countries will receive preferential treatment.’

‘This will create increased demand for Australian wool in partnering countries because of the TPP-11 rules of origin for textiles.’ Mr Halliday said.

WoolProducers strongly supports the implementing legislation being passed without delay so the benefits of TPP-11 to agriculture and regional Australia in particular, can be realised quickly.

‘This is the world’s largest ever regional trade agreement. Australia must be a part of it given the huge opportunities it presents for wool and other agricultural exports.’ Mr Halliday concluded.

ENDS

WoolProducers Australia contact:

Richard Halliday                                                                                     Jo Hall

President                                                                                                 Chief Executive Officer

0428 854 759                                                                                          0488 554 811


WoolProducers urges growers to vote 1.5% in WoolPoll

MEDIA RELEASE

17 September, 2018

WoolProducers urges growers to vote 1.5% in WoolPoll

Peak woolgrower representative body WoolProducers Australia has announced that they will be advocating for 1.5% in this year’s WoolPoll.

 

With voting opening today, WoolProducers are recommending to levy payers to choose 1.5% as this will provide Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) with enough money to continue their work on behalf of industry and invest in necessary new projects.

 

WoolProducers President Mr Richard Halliday said ‘According to the WoolPoll Voter Information Memorandum (VIM), 1.5% offers projected annual income of between $85.8M - $88M per year for the next three years which is ample money for AWI to conduct their current business as well as invest in relevant new areas.’

 

AWI are urging levy payers to vote 2%, particularly in light of reduced supply and price concerns, however WoolProducers disputes the assertion that 1.5% is unviable.

 

‘2% will see an expenditure of $110M per year over the next three years, which coupled with the budgeted expenditure of $111.2M for this financial year, means that AWI are intending to spend nearly half a billion dollars in woolgrower and tax payer money during the next four years’. Mr Halliday said.

 

A 1.5% levy offers a projected annual total income of between $85.8M to $88M per year for the next three years. The last three financial years has seen expenditure by AWI of between $70 and $88M per year.

 

‘Even a $100M annual expenditure represents a 28% increase over the $78M average of the past three years. While $110m would represent a staggering increase of over 40% on the average of the past 3 years – we feel this is too much money to spend and we cannot stand for wastage of growers’ money.’

 

‘1.5% levy is actually supporting a substantial increase in the amount AWI has to spend, even under a scenario where production volumes incur a significant shock and should enable the board of AWI to do most, if not all of the programmes they are keen to do’. Mr Halliday said.

 

The VIM states that the unaudited reserves of the AWI are $115M, which given the strong finish in the EMI of the last financial year, could be even higher.

 

‘The reality is that AWI has never had so much money given the current healthy state of the reserves and the continued strong prices. ‘

 

‘Whilst the concerns of productions are valid, we believe that one of the best ways to contribute to increasing production is leave that extra half a percent in woolgrowers’ pockets by voting 1.5%’. Mr Halliday said.

 

WoolPoll is a triennial vote undertaken by eligible wool growers to determine the amount of their wool cheque that goes towards research, development and marketing which is administered by AWI.

ENDS

WoolProducers Australia contact:

Richard Halliday                                                                                     Jo Hall

President                                                                                                 Chief Executive Officer

0428 854 759                                                                                          0488 554 811


WoolPoll levy options lack logic

MEDIA RELEASE

20 August, 2018

WoolPoll levy options lack logic

Peak woolgrower representative body, WoolProducers Australia (WPA) has expressed disappointment in the 2018 WoolPoll levy options put forward by the Australian Wool Innovation board.

The options for the triennial vote by growers to determine the percentage of levy paid for research, development and marketing, were today announced as: 0%, 1.5%, 2%, 2.5% and 3%.

WoolProducers Australia President, Richard Halliday said ‘The inclusion of two options above the current levy rate of 2% makes no sense given the total combined percentage of votes in both the
2012 and 2015 WoolPolls for 2.5% and 3% levy rate options did not exceed 7%.’

‘WPA made this point in a letter to the WoolPoll Panel Chair, Mr Sid Laurie, when we were approached to provide our preferred levy rate options earlier in the year.’ Mr Halliday said.

WPA put forward 0%; 1%; 1.5%; 2% and 2.5% as the preferred levy rate range, as these would have provided woolgrowers with a range of incremental levy options to consider.

Under the Wool Levy Poll Regulations that WoolPoll is conducted 0% must be included as an option. Given the current high wool prices currently being received, decreasing the levy rate will be a serious consideration for many growers.

‘It is illogical in the current environment to only provide woolgrowers with the opportunity to reduce the levy rate by half a percent or cease it all together, but to then provide two options above status quo.’

‘WPA believes that the reason that AWI have chosen this option range, is to utilise the ‘centre-stage effect’ whereby there is an inherent bias to choose the middle option, as there is absolutely no other justification in including 2.5% and 3%’. Mr Halliday said.

AWI have stated that they will be recommending 2% to woolgrowers.

WPA feel that it is inappropriate that the body that is in receipt of the compulsory levy is the only one that decides the options for shareholders, whilst also being able to lobby for a particular option during the WoolPoll process.

‘Despite their claims, the AWI Board have not listened to growers, and have put forward option rates to pursue their own interests – this is unacceptable.’ Mr Halliday concluded.


WoolProducers calls for AWI to get on with implementing recommendations

MEDIA RELEASE

26 June 2018

WoolProducers calls for AWI to get on with implementing recommendations

Peak woolgrower representative body, WoolProducers Australia is calling on Australian Wool Innovation to implement all recommendations made in the recent review of performance called by Minister Littleproud.

 

Recent claims made by AWI has included that the recommendations will cost ‘millions of woolgrower dollars’.

 

Whilst acknowledging that there will be a cost in implementing these recommendations, WoolProducers rejects that these will costs will be as substantial as claimed.

 

WoolProducers Senior Vice President Ed Storey said ‘The reality is the recommendations are aimed at modernising AWI and their operations.’

 

‘Any costs associated with implementing these changes are due to AWI Board not ensuring that AWI have kept abreast of good governance practices over the past few years.’ Mr Storey said.

 

WoolProducers are calling for consistency in the implementation of these recommendations – governance issues are the responsibility of the AWI Board and there is no need for these to go to shareholder votes.

 

‘There are a number of recommendations that will require shareholder approval, but also a number that the Board can implement themselves. The report suggests that many recommendations can be made without the need for shareholders to vote.’

 

‘WPA see no reason why those recommendations that the Board can implement themselves aren’t done immediately to make AWI the most effective and efficient organisation for woolgrowers.’ Mr Storey said.

Although there is ambiguity around how some recommendations are implemented, AWI have indicated that they have sought legal advice on how best to implement these. As this legal advice has been funded by woolgrowers, WoolProducers are calling for this advice to be made public.

 

AWI has also claimed that the recommendations regarding the Board Nomination Committee and how director elections are conducted will see woolgrowers lose their ability to vote for candidates for Board elections – this is simply false.

 

‘Comparisons with the Meat and Livestock Australia election process are factually incorrect, no where do the recommendations suggest that the number of candidates running for board elections will be stifled.’

 

‘Nominees will need to possess certain skills in line with a skills-based Board, which is a requirement under the Statutory Funding Agreement.

 

This does not mean that candidates will not possess knowledge of the wool industry; rather they will be able to use these skills in addition to their industry knowledge to add further value to AWI’. Mr Storey said.

ENDS

 

WoolProducers Australia contact:

Jo Hall

Chief Executive Officer

0488 554 811

 

Ed Storey

Senior Vice President

0438 309 500


Statement: WPA submission into the AWI review

STATEMENT

6 July, 2018

WPA submission into the AWI Review

 

The Minister for Agriculture and Water, David Littleproud instigated a robust process to review the operations of Australian Wool Innovation (AWI).

Industry, including grower representative bodies, took the opportunity to express views with the aim of enhancing the wool industry Research and Development Corporation to ensure compulsory levy dollars are expended in the most effective way possible.

Industry needs confidence that opinions put forward in this, or any public consultation can be made in a frank and fearless manner without the threat of legal ramifications.

To address the allegations made against WoolProducers Australia by a director of Australian Wool Innovation, specifically:
1. Where WPA made reference to AWI’s board of directors in its submission to the review and the decisions made by them, that reference (apart from anyone specifically named) was to AWI’s board of directors as a whole and not the actions or decisions of any particular director; and

2. WPA rejects any and all allegations that the content of its submissions were defamatory and will seek further legal advice in relation to any formal claims against WPA.

ENDS

WoolProducers Australia contact:
Jo Hall
Chief Executive Officer
0488 554 811


Sheep CRC- ASKBILL delivers free early warning for flystrike and cold 

CRC FOR SHEEP INDUSTRY INNOVATION

 

NEWS RELEASE

June 2018

ASKBILL delivers free early warning for flystrike and cold 

Merino producers across Australia are now forewarned and forearmed against the risk of flystrike and cold snaps, thanks to ASKBILL.

ASKBILL is web-based software which provides timely and accurate predictions of sheep wellbeing and productivity using weather, stock and pasture information to sheep producers across Australia.

It has been developed by the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC) with the support of WoolProducers Australia (WPA) to provide producers with timely and accurate predictions of sheep well-being and productivity using climate, stock and pasture information.

Among a suite of new features recently added to ASKBILL are freely accessible flystrike and cold maps which provide national five-day forecast maps detailing high-risk areas so that producers can take early action to protect their flocks.

Registered users of the full ASKBILL suite of tools also have access to long-range predictions of the risk of flystrike, out to six months in advance to optimise planning of chemical applications and management activities such as shearing and crutching.

Other new features that have been recently added to ASKBILL include:

  • Predictions for growth rates for lambs finished on grass, with or without supplementation
  • Predictions for greasy fleece weights up to six months out from shearing, and
  • Inclusion of genetic information through the ability to import ram team Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs), and Flock Profile data from RamSelect to better predict live weight and performance.

The new features were added following an extensive user trial of ASKBILL, with the feedback provided by sheep producers and advisers around Australia critical to a raft of improvements and additions which have now been made live on the system.

The most important change was the incorporation of short- and long-term weather forecasts to complement actual measurements and the long-term historic averages.

“The feedback provided to Sheep CRC development team by producers, farm advisers and WoolProducers through the pilot trial period, has been invaluable and has directly contributed to the new enhancements to ASKBILL’s performance,” Sheep CRC chief executive James Rowe said.

“The changes include fewer and better-targeted alerts, faster synchronising of predictions, and new features such as feed budget predictions out to six months to help producers plan stocking rates and supplementary feeding from joining through to lambing.

“These new features will enhance the usefulness of ASKBILL for sheep producers, improving their ability to minimise risk and maximise flock wellbeing and productivity.”

The latest version of ASKBILL has been made live to the producer testing group for final validation ahead of the full commercial launch later this year.

  • The cold and flystrike risk maps are available for all producers to use by visiting askbill.com.au.

<ends>                                                

Media contact: Michael Thomson, 0408 819 666.

 


Centre for Invasive Species Solutions- Coordinated control is the key for action on wild dogs

Coordinated control is the key for action on wild dogs

Up to $111 million dollars in lost productivity!

Each year, this is the estimated total cost to agricultural sector associated with wild dog attacks, according to the latest economic impact assessment.

The scourge of wild dogs is not going away, but slowly and surely battles are being won across the country, thanks, in part, to coordinated, cross-tenure and strategic community-led control on wild dogs. So can we turn this number around?

Greg Mifsud is the National Wild Dog Management Coordinator funded through the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions through a co-investment model that includes WoolProducers Australia, Australian Wool Innovation Ltd, Meat and Livestock Australia, Animal Health Australia, Sheep Producers Australia and the Cattle Council of Australia.

Over the past ten years Greg has been leading the national charge on wild dogs by working with multiple stakeholders to make sure wild dog (and feral animal) management activities are built into national livestock production extension programs to see feral animal control delivered as part of on-farm management activities.

Since being in his role, Greg has seen the implementation of nine industry funded regional wild dog coordinators across the country who ensure strategic programs are rolled out effectively in problematic wild dog areas such as Western QLD and NSW, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.

Over the next five years Greg will be working with various stakeholders to implement effective strategic wild dog management policies and programs out across all Australia, so we don’t lose the current momentum being built in the sector.

One of the major advances in the project has been the development of State wild dog advisory committees that involve both industry and government members. Greg sits on each of State wild dog advisory committees to provide information on best practice control, coordinated approaches to management and the results of current research, all of which supports the development of better informed wild dog management policies and programs.

Through the army of regional wild dog coordinators now in place, Greg is aiming to establish at least 15 new community based vertebrate pest control groups each year. However, to achieve this he also wants to ensure an improved regulatory framework for access to wild dog control products across all jurisdictions, ensuring programs can be rolled out effectively on farm without red-tape holding back action.

Just as importantly though, is empowering communities through the delivery of consistent and up to date information on integrated wild dog management to producers involved in the wool and red meat industries making sure they have access to current best practice information and surveillance mechanisms. It is also vital that communication between public and private land managers is maintained to generate more effective wild dog management outcomes.

On the flip side, Greg is also ensuring that wild dog control methods also provide improved conservation of endangered faunal communities through reduced predation following strategic and coordinated control programs for wild dogs which also reduce populations of foxes and feral cats.

Greg’s role as National Wild Dog Management Coordinators has received renewed funding until 2022.

If you’d like to contact Greg, you can email him at greg.mifsud@invasives.com.au

Greg (pictured in front group without a hat/cap) talking with producers in Western NSW at an industry funded wild dog control training day (image provided by the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions).

’’

Greg (middle) is talking with producers about effective wild dog control methods, at the National Sheep and Wool Show in Bendigo 2017 (image provided by the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions).


Australian Wool Innovations- HEALTHY SHEEP, SLEEP AND PASTURES

HEALTHY SHEEP, SLEEP AND PASTURES

 

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 Emily.King@wool.com

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.

 

REMINDER: IT’S A WOOLPOLL YEAR!

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


ParaBoss

ParaBoss: Australia's resource for control of worms, flies and lice in sheep, and worms in goats

ParaBoss offers the current, nationally endorsed, management recommendations for worm, flystrike and lice control via three websites: WormBoss, FlyBoss and LiceBoss.

  • WormBoss provides the procedural information to make an integrated worm control program simple and practical.
  • Use the WormBoss website wormboss.com.au as your reference for all worm control information, including drenches, management and testing.

Worms are the major health issue for sheep in the moderate and higher rainfall areas of Australia. As such, integrated worm control programs are required in these areas as they are far more effective and sustainable than reliance on drenching, but they require some procedural knowledge to be done correctly.

An integrated program combines grazing management, breeding for resistance, worm testing and drench testing with drenching. This provides more ways to reduce worm burdens and to slow their build-up, so that a shortfall in one method is unlikely to cause failure of a program, which can occur if only one strategy, such as drenching, is used.

The WormBoss Worm Control Programs and Drench Decision Guides make implementation of an integrated program relatively simple on most properties. They provide ‘what to do and when to do it’, straightforward, practical, procedural information for producers.

The Drench Decision Guides come in a downloadable or interactive web version that assist with the day-to-day timing of when mobs should be drenched and provide recommendations on whether a long-acting drench is warranted and when to check the mob again.

  • FlyBoss provides information and tools to determine the most effective program for your region and your flock.
  • Use the FlyBoss website flyboss.com.au and strategic planning tools to develop an integrated approach to controlling flystrike

Flystrike ­­­­is a major health issue for sheep—second only to worms—across all rainfall zones of Australia. Integrated breeding and management strategies for flystrike control are the most effective.

An integrated program for control of flystrike combines both breeding and management approaches, which together greatly reduce the overall risk of a program failure, as the chance of a number of methods failing simultaneously is far less likely.

FlyBoss provides information on how to solve your current flystrike problem and to prepare a flystrike management plan. It also provides a range of interactive decision-support tools that allow you to:

 

Optimise Treatment identify when your sheep are most at risk of strike, based on shearing and crutching time and the normal long term weather pattern for your region, and to optimise the time of treatment
Compare Management compare management systems with different shearing and crutching schedule and different chemical protective treatment or different breech modification alternatives.
Products check products available for control of flystrike (or lice), active ingredients, method of application, withhold periods, approximate costs, etc.
WoolRes estimate the pesticide residue levels cause by lice or flystrike treatments.

The tools provide information based on climatic conditions in your local region and the characteristics of your flock, which is important in tailoring a strategic flystrike control approach unique to your property.

  • Use the LiceBoss website liceboss.com.au as your reference for all lice control information, including treatments, prevention, management and monitoring

Lice remain one of the top health issues for sheep producers. Even after lice have gone from a property there is the ever-present threat of a new incursion.

LiceBoss provides technical information for monitoring, preventing and treating lice; lice biology and economic effects and on resistance, residues and safety of treatments. It also provides a series of interactive decision support tools which allow you to enter farm specific data and get answers applicable to your property and particular management circumstances.

  • Products Tool: registered products for lice and flystrike control.
  • Ewe-lamb Treatments Tool: treatment strategies for pregnant ewes or ewes that have lambs at foot.
  • Long Wool Tool: for determining the best course of action when lice are found more than 6 weeks after shearing.
  • Treatment Tool: assesses dipping, showering and backline application methods and helps to identify faults in technique and possible causes of a treatment failure.
  • Rubbing Tool: determines whether rubbing is likely to be due to lice or some other cause.
  • Short Wool Tool: assists in deciding whether to treat for lice at, or soon after, shearing. It can also help identify potential sources of infestation and assist the design of a lice biosecurity plan.
  • Wool Residue Tool: estimates the pesticide residue concentration likely in the wool at the next shearing after application of chemicals for lice or flystrike control.