THE Australian Wool Exchange is moving ahead with plans to make its National Wool Declaration mandatory as grower uptake stalls.
The NWD is currently a voluntary declaration from the wool grower about clip and sheep management factors — including mulesing and pain relief status, and dark and medullated fibre risk in clips — that is used by buyers in making purchasing decisions.
AWEX data indicates that total declaration rates have stalled over the last three seasons, declining from 76.1 percent (Season 2020) to 74.8pc (S2022). The 1.3pc decline in declaration rate during this period is a concern as there has been an increase of 2.5pc in the non-declared category (ND), that is being discounted compared to all other categories, AWEX said.
In its latest update this month, AWEX said it will progress its investigation into making an application to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to make the NWD mandatory, “noting the first step is to determine whether all of industry is supportive of this approach and documenting gaps and/or consequences, if any.”
AWEX is also working on an industry communications plan, accompanied with endorsements from wool customers, to promote and support the uptake of the NWD, and is developing standardised NWD templates for brokers and private treaty merchants to ensure consistency in documentation.
Ceased mulesing category retained
AWEX also informed its members that the ‘ceased mulesing’ and ‘liquid nitrogen’ classifications have been retained on the NWD.
The approved key changes to the NWD Version 10 are:
(a) The retention of LN in the NWD, using the current definition, and
(b) The current definition (NWD V10) of CM be retained with the addition that eligibility for CM is defined within the NWD Definitions/Supporting Explanations.
Ceased Mulesing (CM) is now defined as:
No lambs born on this property in the last 12 months have been mulesed.
No mulesed (or AA) ewes or wethers have been purchased in the last 12 months.
For a property to be eligible for CM status, the answer to both CM property questions must be ‘No’.
The definition of NM has been changed from “No sheep in this mob have been mulesed or treated with liquid nitrogen” to “Sheep in this mob have not been mulesed or treated with liquid nitrogen.”
The NWD V10 template includes the approved categories, their definitions and supporting explanations.
AWEX said industry stakeholders developing documents or stationery must not change any wording or definitions in the NWD V10.0. This is to ensure consistency of the NWD, to maximise the integrity of all Australian declarations, and to provide our customers with clarity on each NWD category thereby enabling informed purchasing decisions, AWEX said.
AWEX said it can provide a standardised landscape and portrait classer’s specification including the NWD, as well as a single page NWD template. A broker’s company logo can be added to the preferred format. A separate NWD is available to add to the bottom of each broker’s current Specification. Please contact AWEX to facilitate this.
The NWD V10 will come into effect on 1 July 2024. However, AWEX encouraged all selling agents to adopt NWD V10 as soon as they next print shearing stationery. In this instance, release prior to the mid-year recess is appropriate, as there are no business logic changes causing significant impact to wool industry software, AWEX said.
This month AWEX will release to industry stakeholders the NWD V10.0 and business rules with changes. NWD brochures, templates and FAQ documentation updated will be released to industry and published on the AWEX website www.awex.com.au. WoolClip will also be updated and a communications campaign will start.
AWEX said all declarations submitted after 1st July 2024 should be made using NWDV10 and NWD V9.3 or earlier versions received prior to 1st July 2024 will remain valid.