THE nation¹s most promi-sing upright posture shearing platform (UPSP) has been slashed in price and is now commercially available.
Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) and Peak Hill Industries collaborative ShearEzy UPSP is retailing for about $15,000 a unit.
The Australian wool industry has been on a quest to find an alternative to conventional shearing for decades.
Many of the more prominent alternatives, such as the robotic shearing arm and the ShearExpress unit, hit headlines around the world but faded into obscurity after funding fell through, or lack of viability.
In the past 10 years the research into UPSPs was intensified, due to occupational safety and health concerns and a declining number of shearers.
In the past five years, 2798 shearing injuries have been reported to workers compensation authorities.
A 2004-05 AWI occupational safety and health report into shearing injuries estimated the total cost of the injuries to be $35 million a year.
According to the report, catch, tip and drag and wool removal injuries in conventional shearing accounted for at least 35pc of injuries and $13.8m a year.
AWI has been at the forefront of many of the latest prototypes and has lent significant financial and technical support to various projects in Australia and New Zealand.
While AWI will not divulge how much funding it has invested into the ShearEzy UPSP since 2005, it is promoting the unit¹s productivity as being superior to conventional shearing, particularly in strenuous shearing conditions.
AWI wool harvesting project manager Joe Sullivan said the latest model UPSP had overcome earlier shortcomings and would be a revelation to woolgrowers.
Mr Sullivan said the $15,000 price tag made ShearEzy¹s technology accessible to many woolgrowers.
³It is really suited to growers who may want to shear their own sheep, or who may want to share a platform amongst several properties or those who are not keen to update or build a new shed, but still have sheep to shear,² Mr Sullivan said.