Can new tech save the shearing sector?

Can new tech save the shearing sector?

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Shearer Paul Oster demonstrates the use of the new technology.

Shearer Paul Oster demonstrates the use of the new technology.

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POLL: Is this the right path to retaining staff in the industry?

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CLOSED borders have thrown more attention on the issues of shearer shortages, with Australia forced to rely on its own workforce to get the job done.

Australian Wool Innovation has listed several areas of focus that could potentially help fix the situation, including better shed facilities, more opportunities for learners and changing shearing times to reduce pressure points.

"From the industry point of view it's become pretty clear we need to be doing a bit ourselves, we need to be getting learner shearers back on ourselves and promoting learner shearers in our own sheds because I think that's probably dropped off and we need to be very conscious of our facilities to make sure we can actually attract people to come and work in our sheds and camp in our huts because the facilities are good and we understand where the industry is," AWI chair Jock Laurie said.

But as well as investing in shearer schools, there has also been an investment in new technology to make it easier for new shearers as well as reduce the injuries that could be pushing older shearers out.

A new technology has recently been on show in the South East, which delivers sheep to the shearer, eliminating the drag component.

Shearing Contractors Association of Australia's Glenn Haynes says about 75 per cent of injuries to shearers occur when bringing the sheep to the stand.

He says this new technology could help keep experienced shearers in the industry longer as well as reduce some of the barriers to new shearers.

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