Project: Measurement of appetite, feed-use efficiency and fat metabolism to improve estimation of genotype profitability and selection indices in Merinos

This PhD will be embedded within a large AWI-funded project that aims to quantify differences in systems efficiency between animals and between sire groups. The project will measure feed intake, feed use efficiency and whole body energy on over 700 progeny from 30 sires from the ‘Merino Lifetime Productivity’ project.

The hypotheses tested will include:

(i) There are physiological differences between animals and sire groups that result in variation in whole body energy;

(ii) There is variation between animals and sire groups in feed intake; and

(iii) The variation in whole body energy and feed intake can be combined with whole of flock bio-economic modelling to quantify differences in systems efficiency between animals and sire groups.

A full PhD Scholarship ($27,000 pa x 3 years) will be offered from Murdoch University based in Perth, and opportunities to ‘top up’ the stipend from other funding sources will be explored. The project is well resourced and the student would commence the PhD program as soon as possible. Expressions of interest are encouraged from students that have a passion for the wool industry and that achieved 1A and 2A honours in Animal Science/Agricultural Science. Practical skills in sheep handling and measurements are also desirable.

For further details contact:

Associate Professor Andrew Thompson, 0437 316 117,

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Sheep Producers Australia is offering winners of the Sheep Industry Ambassador Award the opportunity to attend the New Zealand Sheep Industry Ambassador Program in March 2019.

The program will foster and grow the up and coming leaders in the sheep industry.

The award includes a week-long study tour from 25-30 March, with visits showcasing the industry supply chain across the North and South Islands with ambassadors of the New Zealand and United States sheep industries.

Beyond the trip, a range of other opportunities and professional development are also included as part of the award. Successful applicants will have the chance to represent sheep producers and their interests at a national level by contributing to industry initiatives with the SPA Board or Committees. This input will influence the strategy, policy development, advocacy or industry leadership to guide the industry’s future.

Sheep Producers Australia and Meat & Livestock Australia are proud to offer this opportunity to build leadership capability for the sheep industry.

  • You could be the next SPA Sheep Industry Ambassador if you:
    • Currently work in the sheep industry (either on-farm or in another capacity)
    • Desire to actively contribute to SPA and the sheep industry
    • Are 25-40 years of age (at 1 March 2019)
    • Are able to travel away from your business or work from 24-30 March 2019

Applications close 9am, Monday 11 February. Please submit to

For more information and to download the application form visit the SPA website.

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Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) student Lauren Rowlands has won a national scholarship and three awards recognising her achievements in agricultural science.

An Undergraduate Project Scholarship from the Australian Wool Education Trust (AWET) – one of 15 awarded nationally – is supporting Ms Rowlands’ honours research into Merino wool production.

The research trial is taking place at Stockman Stud in the Southern Midlands, the region where Ms Rowlands grew up.

“Through my research, I hope to find out the most productive pathway for castrated Merino male lambs, known as wethers,” Ms Rowlands said.

“Farmers want to know if wethers produce better meat or wool, and what they should be fed. I’m testing this out through two different pasture diets.

“With funding from the scholarship, my research will be especially rigorous. For example, I’m able to get the fleece samples professionally tested,” she said.

AWET Secretary Mr Peter Sommerville said the industry-focused project design was a key reason for the selection panel’s decision. “Through the project, Lauren will develop her knowledge of wool production and solve a major question for local farmers,” Mr Sommerville said.

“The scholarship recognises Lauren’s keenness to contribute to the wool industry and her ag science know-how. She shows huge potential for a successful career in agriculture.”

In December, Ms Rowlands won the University of Tasmania’s Alan Bray Prize in Animal Science for highest grades in the Animal Science Unit

She was also awarded for the best overall results at third-year level in the Bachelor of Agricultural Science at TIA.

At just 21, Ms Rowlands is already working part-time in a field related to her studies.

“During my degree, I enjoyed doing work experience in biosecurity with the Tasmanian Government, and I’ve since landed a casual job as a biosecurity inspector,” Ms Rowlands said.

Last year Ms Rowlands volunteered for TIA’s National Merino Challenge team, which won first place and she was awarded the Tertiary Overall Champion.

“Winning the National Merino Challenge 2018 influenced my decision to do an Honours project in wool research,” she said.

“The previous summer I had a completely different agricultural experience doing a practical internship on grapevine research with TIA.”

“All this experience helps you nut out which direction you want to go in. “My advice to students is to jump onto work experience and put yourself out there.”

Media contact:

Claire Baker,
Research Communications Officer
(03) 6226 7637

Information released by:

Communications and Media Office University of Tasmania
+61 3 6226 2124

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This is your last chance to tap into the minds of the Sheep CRC’s research team about new and innovative ways to improve your sheep business. After 18 years, the conference marks the final public event for the Sheep CRC before it ceases operations at the end of June 2019. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to celebrate the innovation, impact and transformational technologies the Sheep CRC has delivered.

For more Information click here

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A copy of the 2017/18 Annual Report is available on this website.

In July 1997, Australian Wool Testing Authority Ltd (AWTA Ltd) donated $3.00 million of its Unappropriated Profits to a trust vehicle named “The AWTA Ltd Wool Education Trust”.  The objectives, as set out in the Trust Deed were:

“The Trustees shall hold the Sum upon trust for the application of the income for charitable purposes being the advancement of education in wool and wool textile science and technology including, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, in all or any of the following methods:

  1. to support the education of students, growers and others considered to be capable of contributing to the development of the wool industry, from the growing to the textile product stage, including in such subjects as:
    • fibre science, including fibre and follicle development, fibre morphology and characteristics, and their effects on processing performance and product properties;
    • wool production, including selection, preparation for sale and packaging;
    • wool metrology, including testing technology, process control, Total Quality Management techniques and the prediction of processing performance;
    • wool and textile marketing, including trading, processing and promotion of products made wholly or partially from wool;
  2. to fund attendance at educational conferences and to fund scholarships and prizes;
  3. to fund educational resources, educational conferences, educational programs and educational institutions and colleges; and
  4. to fund scientific research undertaken for the advancement of education.”

The Deed provided for the appointment of 5 Trustees – 3 by AWTA Ltd (the Founder) and 2 by the Federation of Australian Wool Organisations (FAWO).

In May 2003, the Deed was amended to broaden the objectives of the Trust to allow Trustees to fund education outside the University sector.

In 2004, Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) agreed to donate $4.00 million to the Trust, subject to the Trust Deed being amended to provide for appointments of 3 Trustees by AWTA Ltd, 3 by AWI and 2 by FAWO.  The new Deed came into effect on 25th June 2004, at which time the organisation was renamed “Australian Wool Education Trust” (AWET).

Being a not-for-profit trust, AWET is registered with and reports to the Australian Charities & Not for Profits Commission (ACNC).  Registration was first required in 2012 and Annual Reports are provided to the ACNC at the end of each calendar year.


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SPA hosts electronic identification ‘fact finding’ tour to Victoria.

Members and partners of Sheep Producers Australia recently embarked on a two-day fact-finding trip where they observed electronic National Livestock Identification System (sheep) identification technology in use on Victorian farms, and in saleyards and abattoirs. (continue)

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The Trust supports 15 Undergraduate Project Scholarships per year.

These are available to suitable applicants from any University.  Each  is valued at $7,000 – with $3500 being allocated to the student and the balance to the University to fund its support for the student.

The University and the student may negotiate how these funds will be split and, consequently the split of the funds must be specified in the application.

These scholarships are available to Honours or other appropriate undergraduate students undertaking a one year research project relevant to sheep and wool. This relevance is the most significant criterion considered by the selection panel in assessing applications

Students planning appropriate Masters by Coursework studies can also apply for these scholarships.

Applications for these scholarships must be made directly to the Trust (Download Application Form) and must be supported by an academic referee from the University at which the student is or intends to enrol (download Academic Referee’s Form).

These forms were last updated on 31st October, 2018.

Applications for 2019 scholarships close on Friday 23th November 2018.

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The Woolmark Company’s Wool Appreciation Courses are free workshops offering insight into the production pipeline of Merino wool apparel – from fibre to garment – and detail the unique benefits, performance and fabric attributes of wool and wool products. They answer the questions of what is wool, outline the benefits and properties of wool and detail the uses of wool.

Delivered by The Woolmark Company’s technical experts, the Wool Appreciation Courses can be tailor-made for individual companies and educational institutions, using a mixture of cross-media to provide simple and practical explanations of the various processing stages.

These courses are being adapted for on-line learning.

So far two courses are available:

Wool Introductory Course – 25-minute-high level marketing/educative piece.

Wool Appreciation Course – 3-hour piece that looks at the fibre from farm to fashion.

At completion of the Wool Appreciation course you can gain your own Wool Appreciation Badge from Credly. This can be displayed on your own digital professional portfolio such as Linkedin!


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This has been a busy week.


Trustees met with representatives of a number of Universities delivering wool and sheep education. The Trust has been a major financier of the hub and spoke model, wherein UNE provides the hub, and other “spoke” Universities enable their students to engage with the sheep and wool modules offered by UNE.

The good news is that UNE has decided to place Dr Emma Doyle on permanent tenure. Emma was employed by UNE in 2007 in a non-tenured position, funded by AWET. She will now take total responsibility for co-ordinating delivery of AWET’s modules by UNE. In making this decision UNE is demonstrating its continued commitment to sheep and wool education.

AWI was represented at the meeting by Ms Julie Davies who provided all present with an update of education programs AWI is developing, some also co-funded by AWET.

Fashion Schools

We also met with a number of representatives of Australia’s Fashion Schools. AWET has been providing a number of grants for students in these schools to create final year designs strongly based on wool.

AWI was also represented at this meeting by Ms Kelly McAvoy who outlined a number of exciting programs to incentivise fashion school students, here and throughout the world, to increase their involvement with and commitment to wool.

(Click the thumbnail below to view image).

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2018 Wool training workshops

A series of wool training workshops will be conducted at Deakin University in May 2018 on behalf of the Australian Wool Education Trust (AWET). The workshops will be delivered at the Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM) at the University’s Geelong–Waurn Ponds Campus, with classes delivered by experts in the various fields. All teaching materials have been developed by Australian Wool Innovation.

The workshops are designed for people working in textile manufacturing to improve their theory skills in wool processing.

Each subject will be delivered in an intensive format of eight hours per day over either one or two days. A formal assessment will be carried out on completion of the workshop.

Subject descriptions

Wool fibre science

This six-hour unit gives a strong overview of the wool fibre. It concentrates on the structure, physics, chemistry, setting and felting of wool. It is a prerequisite for all of the other units offered in this training.

The scouring of raw wool

This two-day unit will cover the opening and scouring of wool fibre. Topics include the preparation of wool for scouring, scouring processes, carbonisation, grease recovery, testing procedures and effluent treatment.

Worsted top-making

This two-day unit looks at the preparation of wool fibres for both worsted and woollen spinning. Topics include fibre opening, blending, worsted carding, carding, drawing, combing and roving. The subject also covers quality assurance of top, TEAM equations and top treatments.

Worsted and woollen spinning

This one-day unit examines the spinning of wool on both the worsted and woollen spinning systems. The unit covers preparation of fibres for preparation  of fibres for spinning, woollen carding, worsted spinning, woollen ring spinning, variations and alterations to ring spinning and post-spinning operations. It is recommended that the Worsted top making unit is taken in conjunction with this unit.

The dyeing of wool

This two-day unit covers the dyeing processes of wool. It looks at the way dye interacts with the wool fibre, preparation and dyeing methods for wool and wool blends, equipment used for dyeing, side effects, the dye house laboratory and environmental concerns.

Wool fabric finishing

This two-day unit covers the fabric finishing of wool fabrics. It discusses dry, wet and chemical finishing, typical finishing paths, analysis techniques, faults, performance standards and environmental concerns.

Workshop details


 Course Title


 1st May 2018  Wool fibre science  Dr Chris Hurren
 2nd May 2018  The scouring of raw wool  Dr Jock Christoe
 8th May 2018  Worsted top-making  Mr Gary Robinson
 10th May 2018  Worsted and woollen spinning  Mr Gary Robinson
 15th May 2018  The dyeing of wool  Dr Rex Brady
 17th May 2018  Wool fabric finishing  Dr Rex Brady



Register at Eventbrite using the links above. For questions relating to the workshop please email Chris Hurren ( The cost of the workshops is $55/workshop. This includes the cost of a printed manual.

Download a copy of the brochure.

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