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Marker Application methods

The marker is usually applied as the animal passes through the drenching or drafting race.

For scanning, however, the applicator is held much closer to the wool, allowing greater penetration and saturation. While approved markers are tested for "scourability", neither the existing test nor the marker formulations envisaged this sort of use.

To find out whether contamination is the result of product performance or farmer use, WoolPro is monitoring the everyday on-farm use of approved markers and working with others in the industry. Until this work is completed, farmers should use as little marker as possible, avoid deep penetration and intense marking of the fleece. They should also ensure that woolhandlers remove contaminated wool from the clip.

Key points

Growers can reduce their use of markers and the chance of contamination by forward planning and keeping in mind a few key points:

  • When separating animals such as singles, twins and triples, mark only the smallest groups. Leave the largest group in the flock unmarked
  • Consider using drafting gates instead of markers
  • Mark the head rather than the back or flank. Head marks should break down more easily through exposure to sun and rain, and are a lot easier to see. The head wool is also more easily separated at shearing
  • Use the correct temperature grade of tupping crayon for the time of year and district. A soft crayon in warm weather will make a more intense mark
  • Use only approved scourable wool markers – paint, pig, deer or cattle markers are not OK
  • Use as little marker as possible, avoiding deep penetration and intense marks. Mark a small area and when using a spray can, hold it no closer than 15 cm (6 inches)
  • Always remove marked wool at shearing time
  • Consider how long the mark will be needed. Chalk raddle may be enough for a mark that is not needed for long
  • The Fernmark Quality Programme standards are an industry guide on how to avoid marker problems.

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