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Alternative mulesing product disappoints in Australia

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An industry-backed replacement for mulesing sheep has been deemed a disappointment, with woolgrowers complaining about the long list of restrictions on its use.

Corbett Technologies spent years working with Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) to develop SkinTraction, which reduced wool growth when it is applied around the sheep’s tail.

Approved by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Authority (APVMA) 12 months ago, the product’s restrictions mean it can’t be used on lambs when they are most commonly marked.

It can only be used on 12 month old sheep weighing over 30 kilograms.

AWI’s Geoff Linden said he wants to make using the product easier in the future.

“We’ll undertake further work to remove the label requirements, so more of the market can use it.”

But this season woolgrowers will have access to two new pain relief products, a pre-mulesing analgesia called Metacam, and a pain-relief paste, known as BuccalgesicTM, applied to the lamb’s cheek.

Both are tipped to increase competition in the market with the existing pain-relief product, Tri-Solfen, and is expected to cost approximately one dollar per lamb.

But in the future, Mr Linden said current genomic research will deliver products that reduce the smell of sheep, making them less attractive to blowflies.

“We’re looking a vaccine that causes the sheep to have an immune response to larvae on the breach that will repel them.

“The fly genome work is long term, as is odour and bacteria work, but they may give a reduced reliance on existing chemicals, and reduce the reliance on having low wrinkle, low dag, low cover animals.”

Source: ABC Rural

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