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About AgVet Innovations (AVI)

AgVet Innovations brings innovative animal health and welfare solutions to agriculture. We believe that all livestock enterprises should have access to animal management solutions that improve animal welfare outcomes as well as impact the bottom line. Our Sheep Freeze Branding solution is the result of over a decade of R&D. The patented technology provides an ethical and cost-effective single application solution for the promotion of sheep breech health for life.

Dr. John Steinfort (BVSc)

Dr. John Steinfort (BVSc)

Dr. John Steinfort is an innovator and entrepreneur with 35 years experience in veterinary and agricultural leadership and research.

Learn more about AVI


Rod M

“After processing our weaners in autumn for the last few years with Sheep Freeze Branding we are finding the No.1 benefit is that our sheep cleaner and much easier for them to be crutched. We find the No.2 benefit is our sheep are less predisposed to flystrike. We have August shorn ewes that did not have any fly chemical from July to January. Nor did we have any problems with breech flystrike. We like the process as the sheep recover well without visible setback.”

Rod M,
Woolgrower, VIC

Alistair L

“I used Sheep Freeze Branding for the first time in Nov 2020 on my Ultra Fine Merino lambs.
The lambs showed very little discomfort using the SFB process combined with a pain relief injection. Within several minutes they were back with their mums drinking and moving freely. They had no set backs and continued to grow. There was no trouble with flies. At weaning 6 weeks later they were 2-3kg heavier compared with previous years and they were healthy and robust. After a fly challenging summer none have had breech flystrike.
I look forward to getting extra buyers trying to purchase my wool.”

Alistair L,
Woolgrower, VIC

Neil H

“A game changer for our industry, it’s brilliant for management, it’s great for the animal, it’s great for us”

Neil H,
Woolgrower, Victoria

Coby B

“I was really impressed by the lack of set-back that the lambs were enduring, once processed (SFB), they were out drinking off their mothers.”

Coby B,
Woolgrower, Victoria

Mark W

“As we went down our path of ceased mulesing without an additional process, we were having to use more and more checmical as a fly prevention. If you want to have a cleaner product I would suggest that this is a much better way of going that being dependent long term wise on chemical solution.”

Mark W,
Woolgrower, Victoria


“The Freeze Branded sheep are easier to shear and manage than the mulesed group that I shore earlier today. On the mulesed sheep I was changing my gear after every run. I was able to get three runs before changing the gear on the Freeze Branded sheep.”

Shearer, NSW

Leo and Judy Blanch

“Westvale”, a property run by the Blanch family since 1907, is situated on the top of the Great Dividing Range in northern New South Wales. Water drains into the MacLeay to the east and the Namoi and Gwyder to the west. Westvale ranges from 1050/1100 mts above sea level and comprises fine granite soils without rock.
Westvale has the type of sheep that produce a stylish superfine fleece cutting good weights for their type. With fly strike prevalent in our wet summers the Blanch family commenced traditional mulesing some 65 years ago. We were one of the first to initiate the uptake of pain mitigation products (Trisolfen) in 2006 to provide further improved animal welfare outcomes. Whilst not being a practice we personally enjoyed, mulesing had been very effective in our overall blowfly and stain management of our flock for that period of time providing assistance in maintaining healthy and productive animals for their lifetime.
Now in 2021, it is well understood that market and consumer expectations must be married with our own personal goals of providing the best possible welfare outcomes for our highly valued stock. As a result, we felt it was time to investigate alternatives to traditional mulesing and opted for a change.
In 2019 we did a trial run using Liquid Nitrogen (early days of Freeze Branding) to modify the breech. We were impressed with the results so after a year of poor lambing (due to drought) we decided again to do our larger drop of hoggets (5months old) in March 2021. Crutched one month beforehand, the job was contracted to AgVet Innovations owned by John Steinfort who also performed the trial operation 2 years previously.
The hoggets were given an injection of Meloxicam, 20mg/ml as they entered the cradle. The only other treatment given to the hoggets was to administer an injection as part of our extensive Barbervax program. We noticed that after the Freeze Branding treatment the sheep walked away in a normal, uninhibited manner and looked for grass to eat as soon as they left the yards in which the operation occurred.
Observation of the Freeze Branded stock the following day showed no stiffness or slowness in movement which has convinced us that the sheep will recover without any setback, as opposed to what we were witnessing with traditional mulesing. The procedure of Freeze Branding is much more costly than mulesing but we believe the benefits of the minimal setback to the animal and
the resulting weight gains, fly protection and increased and unaffected wool growth will far outweigh the cost. Having a process that also does not require the rudimentary cutting of our animals and no bleeding or creation of an open wound was also a huge attraction to us.
We would be quite comfortable to see a separate category created on the NWD for Freeze Branded sheep so as not to jeopardize those people who have bred sheep for no modification. However, from our positive firsthand experience to date, we firmly believe the process shows a marked improvement in animal welfare outcomes when compared to traditional mulesing and we would like to see it identified separately as such.
We intend to continue to employ Freeze Branding on our hoggets while ever we continue to experience the animal welfare and productivity benefits witnessed so far. Of course, acceptance of the process and a positive reflection of this in the market price, linked also with our wool quality, would be a secondary, but greatly appreciated added benefit.
As an additional but important comment, the shearing teams are happy with the modification method of the breech (less cutting of loose skin/more relaxed animals) and as quality wool producers we enjoy the absence of dark fibres and chemical residue in our wool.

Leo & Judy Blanch

“Westvale” Wollun NSW 2354.

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