Wool

Wool hub sets 2025 property traceability target

Sheep Central, May 22, 2024

MORE than 90 percent of Australia’s wool is expected to be traced to property of origin by July 2025 via the nation’s new traceability hub.

According to spokesman, AWTA managing director Michael Jackson, the Australian Wool Traceability Hub is an opportunity for the wool industry to get ahead of the curve when it comes to the sector’s emergency animal disease (EAD) response plan, as well as end-to-end commercial traceability from farm to first stage processor.

It is anticipated that more than 90pc of bales will be able to be traced using the hub by July 2025, Mr Jackson said.

The hub is an industry owned and led initiative scheduled to be officially launched by mid-year. It is  being developed with input from Wool Industries Australia, the Australian Wool Testing Authority, Australian Wool Innovation, the Australian Wool Exchange, the National Council of Wool Brokers of Australia, the Australian Council of Wool Exporters and Processors and WoolProducers Australia (WPA). The AWTA will manage and operate the hub on behalf of the industry, overseen by WIA.

Mr Jackson said the purpose of the hub is to strengthen the confidence in reliability and efficiency of the transfer of key information within the Australian wool supply chain from wool growers to first stage processors.

“When fully operational, the hub will initially focus on helping the industry respond to potential biosecurity threats.

“A vital part of managing any emergency animal disease (EAD) outbreak is being able to track and locate any wool which may have come from contaminated sites, ranging from the farm to the wool store, dump or shipping containers and all the way to processing locations,” he said.

Mr Jackson said a hub goal is to achieve a 100pc Property Identification Code adoption or declaration rate by wool growers that will enable a rapid response to help minimise the inevitable trade disruptions that would follow in the event of an EAD incursion.

“As at March 2024 the national PIC adoption rate (via the National Wool Declaration) is about 50pc, which is significantly lower than what is required to adequately deal with an EAD event.”

The uptake of WoolClip and the production of the electronic specification, which includes the NWD and PIC, are important tools to enable traceability and improve the accuracy and timeliness of clip information. Classers, growers and contractors continue to show strong and ongoing interest in WoolClip with selling agents being critical to its uptake. AWEX continues to support the introduction and training in the use of WoolClip nationally.

Electronically identified wool packs also have a role to play

AWEX chief executive officer Mark Grave said currently WoolClip has captured more than 230,000 bales on-farm and is forecast to reach 280,0000-plus bales by June 30.

“This is expected to continue to grow to approximately 500,000 bales in 2024/25 with strong support from industry.

“In 2022, all sectors of the wool industry agreed to support the introduction of the ePack to enhance the ability of the wool value chain to enhance digital traceability,” he said.

“The ePack has been available in Australia since March 2023 and the RFID/QR Code pack is the only pack in production and imported today.

“Approximately 1.7million ePacks have been produced which is almost equivalent to 12 months wool production,” Mr Grave said.

“The industry wants the old packs to be used as quickly as possible, I would expect that we should reach close to 100pc saturation of the technologically enabled ePacks by 1 January 2025.

“The ePack is readily available across Australia and its use will enhance traceability.”

Mr Jackson said at the recent IWTO conference in Adelaide, participants heard that brands and consumers are increasingly interested in the provenance of products.

“By collecting key information along the wool supply chain, the hub aims to achieve traceability in the Australian wool industry and ultimately be able to help respond to provenance requests from the market.

“The platform will be available to wool growers, sellers and buyers who wish to use it to manage wool traceability,” he said.

“Engagement has begun with key stakeholders, particularly wool sellers and buyers for data sharing preparedness and feedback which will influence the end product delivery.”

Anyone interested in keeping up to date on further developments of the hub can visit www.awth.com.au/subscribe.

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