Researchers envisage automatic shearing future

AWI initiates automatic shearing research

AUTOMATIC ACTION: Research into automatic wool harvesting has commenced.

AUTOMATIC ACTION: Research into automatic wool harvesting has commenced.

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Australian Wool Innovation has announced a long-term research project focused on automated shearing.

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Automated shearing has entered the realm of possibility with the Australian Wool Innovation having commenced a research project to trial the technology. 

The joint partnership with AWI, Ranken Research and Robo Shear will see a four-year practical engineering research and development project, which aims to design, construct, field test and evaluate a proof of concept prototype machine for fully automated end-to-end wool harvesting.

Robo Shear project director Richard Lyons said the final product envisaged is a modular, portable, reliable machine that can automatically harvest traditional fleece wool from a sheep.

“Our long-term aim is to develop a readily available and capable automated alternative to manual shearing that will provide a range of benefits including ensuring the welfare of the sheep and reduces the risk of both human and animal injury,” Mr Lyons said. 

“It is critical the end product of our project ensures the quality of the fleece with a target rate of 1500 de-fleeced sheep in a continuous 10-hour period.”

Australian Wool Innovation research general manager Jane Littlejohn said the research aim is innovative and focused to support the future sustainability of the sheep and wool industry.

“This research is a long-term project that is seeking to develop a prototype machine to fill the shearer shortage gap,” Ms Littlejohn said.

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