AUSTRALIA’S wool classers will have just one electronic specification platform for collecting on-farm wool data by the end of the year.
In a development long-requested by wool brokers, Australian Wool Exchange Ltd and Australian Wool Innovation have embarked on a program of collaboration to fast-track key industry initiatives.
The two wool industry service providers have said they will share a single electronic clip specification by the end of 2022.
Over the next few months, AWEX and AWI will finalise the work to connect WoolQ and WoolClip to provide a seamless pathway for wool production data to be collected on farm, stored and analysed.
WoolQ’s eSpeci and WoolClip will operate as usual until the launch of the single solution which has a December 2022 target date, the two service providers said.
One eSpeci initiative welcomed by brokers
National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia president Rowan Woods said the AWI/AWEX eSpeci collaboration was “fantastic.”
“We’ve been pushing for that all along and at national council we fully endorse that approach.”
He said it will be good for the industry to have the best of both eSpecis in the one system.
Mr Woods said NCWSBA, the Australian Council of Wool Exporters and Processors had been working on the initiative with AWI and AWEX for some time. He expected to see other initiatives come out of closer industry collaboration, including in the area of traceability.
Karree Wool owner Alister Carr said the collaboration was a great initiative and “about time.”
“They shouldn’t have ever gone their separate ways anyway, so hopefully this is the start of many other touch points where as an industry we can consolidate and have one single approach, as the start of more collaboration at different levels in the industry.”
He said having the two separate electronic specis created confusion for growers and brokers.
“It’s better for growers, better for brokers, it’s a win for everyone.
“We just want one system that works, whether that falls under AWEX or it falls under AWI,” he said.
“But when you start competing in that space it’s ridiculous for the industry.”
WoolQ speci to transition into WoolClip by end of 2022
AWEX chief executive Mark Grave said it is important that the two not-for-profit companies work together for the mutual benefit of the industry.
“AWEX and AWI recognise the value that industry can gain by collaborating.
“Achieving a single electronic specification will streamline training, extension and remove duplication for the industry,” he said.
“Traceability is critical to wool’s future and it starts on farm.
“Having a single on-farm platform to capture wool information will play a large part in improving Australia’s traceability and provenance credentials,” Mr Grave said.
“Australia can lead the world and improve efficiencies through the supply chain.”
He said both organisations felt that addressing the two available eSpecis was something that could be resolved and demonstrate real benefit to the industry.
“A sign that collaboration was possible and positive for the industry.”
Mr Grave said eSpecis will continue to be available on WoolClip and WoolQ in the short term and transition to WoolClip at the end of 2022.
“WoolClip has established data capture and RFID/QR Code capability at wool shed level and will allow growers to share data with WoolQ to benefit from the post farm gate services WoolQ provides.”
AWI chief executive John Roberts said the single electronic specification for the industry is the right decision.
“There are huge benefits that can result from a simple industry wide electronic specification, and it is essential in achieving a full traceability solution for our fibre.
“Traceability will enable the Australian wool industry to better address the threats associated with a biosecurity incursion like FMD, as well as allowing wool growers to leverage the commercial opportunities that exist around provenance, which is now a common priority amongst sports and fashion brands globally,” he said.
Other collaborative industry initiatives are being explored
The companies said they will also collaborate on promotion and education of the benefits of a digital data journey to increase adoption for the benefit of all industry participants.
Both parties said they are confident in the success of this first project and believe it will develop into a much closer working relationship going forward. AWEX with its strong connection to classers, coupled with AWI working with and for growers offers a unique opportunity to leverage each other’s strengths, a joint statement said.
Mr Grave said AWEX and AWI are exploring other industry initiatives including how they might create career opportunities/pathways for new entrants through wool handling, pressing, shearing and wool classing.
“The aim will be to assess how we can attract new entrants, train them and keep them within the industry.
“These are challenges of every industry at the moment,” he said.