Described as being “famous for a day”, winning Grand Champion title of the Australian Fleece Competition has provided more than just paparazzi-like publicity for Paul and Margy Seaman, “Rosemont”, Crookwell, NSW.
The accolades have been extensive, from a prize which saw them cruise New Zealand to widespread coverage of their operation across the country.
The woolgrowers from the southern tablelands of NSW beat 481 entries to be awarded the top title with a commercial fleece.
Mr Seaman attributed their success to a strict attention to detail when purchasing the best rams they can afford.
“I am not particularly fussy about bloodlines - I look for the type that I know will perform on our country,” he said.
“Lustre and a well-defined crimp along with nourishment are most essential.
“They are the traits which protect the wool keeping the dust out and also giving the fleece greater softness.”
He regarded the “modern Merino” as too plain, and lacked the required wool cut.
“We now need to concentrate on wool cut as we are paid by the kilo,” he said.
The champion fleece was shorn from a wether, with the 17.7 micron fleece weighing six kilograms and scored a very impressive 96.10 points out of 100. This year, the Seaman’s have four fleeces entered which have been meticulously selected from their flock of 4000 Merino which graze across the 890 hectare property.
“We set the bar quite high so to get full points for any characteristics the fleece needs to be a very good performer - for a commercial sheep to hit the target is an extraordinary effort,” Australian Fleece Competition convener Candice Cody, Landmark, Bendigo.
This year the OTIS Foundation has been selected as the chosen charity, which is expected to receive profits from two-thirds of the 414 fleeces entered.
Ms Cody said the OTIS Foundation provided retreat accommodation to those living with the challenges of breast cancer, and was an ideal charity to promote within the rural audience.
The performance class has again received large entries, with 30 fleeces which were shorn at six to eight month intervals having been entered.
A high number of Corriedale fleeces have been registered for competition as well as a large representation by Tasmania woolgrowers.
“Being a fully tested fleece competition means there is a strong focus on the commercial processing performance of fleeces,” Ms Cody said.
“Wool exporters are consulted and benchmarks are reviewed when required. It has grown to the premier fleece competition and the largest of its kind.”