A fleece described as “exceptional” has taken out the Elders Southern Clip of the Year Awards 2017/18.
It was grown by Dunkeld woolgrowers Peter and Lindy Hayes, and was presented at Sheepvention in Hamilton on Monday.
Elders wool technical coordinator, Sam Wan, said the Hayes family normally score well in the competition, but this year their result was outstanding.
“It attracted the trade’s attention visually, and then backed it up with exceptional measurements,” Ms Wan said.
The fleece bales from the clip averaged 17.4 micron, 74.3 per cent yield, 0.7 vegetable matter, and 40 Newtons per kilotex.
The fine wool producers’ fleece came out of the April category, described as being very even, well-classed and documented.
It was classed by Judith Ratana, Lake Bolac, who started on the farm as a roustabout, only taking on the classing role a couple of years ago. Ms Ratana, who is originally from New Zealand, has never won an accolade as renowned as the Clip of the Year, and was blown away by the success.
“You put a lot of time and effort into getting the best quality wool you can, so it’s nice when it pays off,” Ms Ratana said.
“If I can keep doing that, then I’ll be able to make a lot of farmers profit.”
She said they strive to produce the best quality line of wool they can, consistently.
“You’re going for the bright, strong, white fleeces, and you want that throughout the flock,” she said.
“You might get fleece that ends up discoloured or tender, so you’ve got to breed away those bad lines.”
She said feed quality and nutrition is of top priority on the farm, which assists in the fleece weights and measurements being achieved.
They also focus on implementing the best genetics possible.
Ms Ratana is grateful for the support she has received from the Hayes family, particularly during the shearing period, and from Elders Hamilton district wool manager Andrew Howells, who helped with the marketing of bales, and partner Muni Ratana, who helped make the shearing process “effortlessly easy”, as well as Gerard Morrissey and his shearing crew.
Ms Wan said July’s winner was commended for being well-classed, with a clear and concise classers speci, and was won by Chris and Alan Bensch, Croxton Pastoral Pty Ltd.
The winner in the August category was Bill, Jenny and Will Crawford, Sierra Park Pty Ltd, whose fleece was described as being of great style and well-classed.
September’s winner was Richard, Judith, Scott and Kate Bowden, RV Bowden & Son.
The October winner was Echo Cottage, whose clip was described as being stylish and very well presented.
Kelvin and Jackie Pendergast, KW & JA Pendergast, took out the November title, for a clip that displayed consistent evenness throughout.
December’s winner was Buln Gherin Pastoral, for a well-presented clip.
The winner in January was Darren and Allie Hayward, for a clip that showed great tensile strength and low mid-point breaks.
February’s winner was John and Maria Weeding, for a clip with great style. Wando Estate took out the March title, for a stylish, well-presented clip.
The May honours went to Everard and Matthew Linke, whose fleece was awarded 1PP status. And June was won by Brewis & Co Pty Ltd, for a clip with excellent “style and bloom”.