‘Woolification’ trip to Melbourne for KI wool growers

WOOLY TOUR: More than 40 South Australian woolgrowers recently travelled to Melbourne with a team of pink shirts for a four-day
WOOLY TOUR: More than 40 South Australian woolgrowers recently travelled to Melbourne with a team of pink shirts for a four-day "Woolification" tour.

More than 40 South Australian woolgrowers recently travelled to Melbourne with a team of pink shirts for a four-day ‘Woolification’ tour. 

The tour kicked off with presentations from Bayer about animal health, followed by a passionate talk on current trends in the wool industry from Samantha Wan, Elders’ National Wool Selling Centre technical coordinator.

Samantha has recently established a platform for Kangaroo Island and other remote wool growers to watch their wool being sold live on the auction room floor though video capability. 

The Woolification tour visited the wool stores to inspect the show floor, core testing and grab sampling.

Tianyu wool buyer, Paul Mahon held a Q&A session which gave growers insight into what the trade is looking for and how the buyers see the future of wool and the open cry auction process. 

Growers were able to see the wool auction in action. The speed and method of sale surprised many growers as the majority had not seen what happens to their wool once it leaves the farm gate. Three of the growers had wool selling on the day and were able to go into the auction room to experience the action.

The Australian Wool Testing Authority was another stop on the Woolification tour. The group was thoroughly impressed with the process of testing their wool for sale. Micron, yield, length and strength were among the tests demonstrated. Other tests such as a colour was explained but is rarely used. 

With farm safety a hot topic at the moment, Heiniger’s Darren McEvoy gave an update on safety in the shearing sheds. 

The tour finished with Friday night footy at the MCG. Although it wasn’t a Crows win for the SA supporters, Tony Modra dropped in for a chat and some selfies with the Woolification tour group.  

 manager, Marty Kay organised the tour and said it was a huge success. 

“Growers from Kangaroo Island, the Mid-North and Mallee were able to get away from the farm and it gave people an opportunity to mix across different regions and compare ideas,” Marty said.

“Everyone came away from the week with some learnings and some inspiration to improve their operations to maximise their wool returns,” Marty said. 

OJD vaccination

Elders Kingscote branch meanwhile is encouraging KI sheep farmers to vaccinate against  Ovine Johnes’ Disease (OJD), citing the results of an observational study at Naracoorte first cross ewe sale on November 9, 2017.

PIRSA highly recommends producers vaccinate their sheep against OJD especially in high rainfall environments. Since SA endemic disease programs is  ‘buyer beware’ approach purchasing OJD approved vaccinates is desirable for a producers farm Biosecurity.

According to both producers and industry, the Ovine Johnes’ Disease (OJD) vaccine Gudair continues to be the most effective management tool to help minimise losses and control the spread of OJD.

This also applies to the sale and purchase of sheep, as vaccinated sheep pose considerably less risk to the purchaser when moving new sheep onto their property.

OJD is endemic within Australia. The disease results in chronic wasting followed by death, and is estimated to cost Australian sheep producers $35M annually. There is currently no treatment available for OJD.

Gudair vaccination prior to high levels of exposure results in a 90 per cent reduction in mortality associated with OJD, as well as a 90 per cent reduction in the shedding of the bacteria.

Clinical signs and shedding are also delayed by a further 12 months when vaccination is administered correctly. Overall, the reduced losses result in greater potential farm income, and reduced shedding creates less environmental contamination.

An observational study at a first cross store ewe sale in South Australia was conducted in 2017 to assess the potential impact of Gudair vaccination status on sale price, i.e. Was Gudair vaccination associated with higher sale prices?

Data were collected at the Naracoorte First Cross ewe sale on November 9, 2017. The sale comprised 18,186 Border Leicester/Merino first cross ewes. The data collected included price per pen, number of head per pen, order of sale and Gudair vaccination status.

Of the 18,186 ewes offered for sale, 13,880 were identified as Gudair vaccinates and 4306 ewes were identified as Gudair non-vaccinates. Although not all data that could affect sale price was collected and analysed, of the data collected, Gudair vaccination status and order of sale were the only significant influences on price.

The marketing of ewes as ‘Gudair vaccinated’ at this sale was associated with a price advantage of almost $15 a head. The average price per head of a Gudair-vaccinated ewe was $311.48 compared to the average price of a Gudair non-vaccinated ewe of $296.65 – or a $14.83/head average difference.


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