Australian Wool Innovation and The Livestock Collective have forged a new partnership aimed at providing more services and information to wool growers in WA’s lesser-known sheep-producing regions. The partner program will focus on understanding the needs of wool producers in different parts of the State, using the information gathered to provide better extension network programs and capacity-building projects. The Livestock Collective director Steven Bolt, a Corrigin-based Merino breeder, said the not-for-profit organisation hoped to provide more support to growers, particularly in northern and eastern parts of the State. “Traditionally, they don’t get as much access to that grower network because of the lower sheep population out there,” he said. “We really want to focus on making sure all levy payers within WA get access to AWI extension work, whether it’s through speakers or field day events, or something like a vessel tour or a tour of the wool stores.” One such event Mr Bolt is excited about is an upcoming field day at the Katanning Research Station, where growers will see firsthand where their levy funds are being targeted — including groundbreaking defleecing research. “We were interested in tendering for the extension project because we feel that we have some quality people that’ll be able to deliver for the needs of wool growers,” he added. “There are significant opportunities and challenges ahead for WA wool growers. “The unique flock and production systems are hugely variable across the State, which means levy payers have different needs in different regions. “Supply chain disruption and pressures for competitive land use will be top of mind when growers are making forward-planning decisions in the next few months, and TLC would like to be there to help in whatever capacity we can.” TLC managing director Holly Ludeman said the partnership was “an opportunity to look at what WA needs and how extension can be done differently”. “We will be seeking to understand how people want to be engaged and if there are other opportunities to maximise the number of levy payers that get access to information,” she said. “We don’t all want information in the same format and not everyone has time or energy for field days or full day events.” AWI chief executive John Roberts said the partnership would help the research and development body bring the latest innovation, technology and research to WA growers “in better and more effective ways”. WA’s sheep and wool industry is the third largest in the nation with about 14.3 million sheep spread across the State.