Central Victoria's Wattle Bank Merino stud has taken out the coveted National Fleece Competition grand champion title a this year's Australian Sheep & Wool Show.
The Glen brothers have supported the fleece competition for the last 19 years, but this is their first big win.
The grand champion 18 micron fleece was in the superfine Merino stud ewe or wether class, and scored 94.65 out of a possible 100 points.
Stephen Glen from the stud said it was a great surprise to win the award with a stud show ewe.
"It is the culmination of a long process, which started when my father travelled to Merryville in 1971 with stud classer Keith McColl to generate some extra style and definition into our wool," Mr Glen said.
"It shows that if you stick to your guns and stick to your type, good things can happen."
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The competition is the largest fully-measured fleece competition in the world, this year attracting 364 entries from 145 exhibitors.
The competition is a joint effort between the Australian Sheep Breeders Association, the Australian Wool Testing Authority (AWTA) and Landmark.
Almost two-thirds of the fleeces on show were donated by exhibitors for auction at the completion of the competition, with all proceeds to be donated to this year's nominated charity, Cooperative Trials Group for Neuro-Oncology (COGNO).
Sea-Ori Pastoral Company P/L, Crookwell, NSW, picked up both the reserve champion award, as well as commercial champion, with a 17.3 micron superfine Merino fleece scoring an impressive 94.20 points.
Judges for this year's competition were Endeavour Wool Exports director Josh Lamb and Jason Carmichael, Landmark TWG Wool, NSW.
Mr Carmichael said the seasonal conditions throughout eastern Australia during the past 12 months had dealt woolgrowers many challengers in producing the ultimate fleece.
"A large number of commercial fleeces showed signs of the tough seasonal conditions, but exhibitors are to be congratulated for presenting a quality product in spite of this," he said.
Mr Lamb said from an exporter's point of view, it was noted that some entrants were shearing at the optimal time to ensure their fleeces received a high processing score and fleece value.
Competition convener Candice Cordy, Landmark, praised the achievements of the exhibitors and sponsors who continued to support the competition.
"While entries are down on last year, we are very happy with the support shown, particularly when the tough seasonal conditions are taken into account," Ms Cordy said.
Ms Cordy also pointed out the commercial value component of the competition, with Merino fleece entries averaging $110 per fleece this year, compared to $102 per fleece last year.
Supported by 26 sponsors, the competition offers $17,000 in prizes, with the grand champion fleece exhibitor collecting a $2000 travel voucher sponsored by Landmark and Gallagher.
The performance class, which caters for exhibitors shearing in six to eight-month cycles commercially, was again well supported, with this year's winner being Elanvale Holdings, Pyramid Hill.
Ms Cordy said COGNO was a worthy cause.
"Over the past 18 years, exhibitors in the fleece competition have donated over $167,000 to national charities," she said.
"This year, COGNO will benefit from the continued generosity of our woolgrowers and sponsors."
All competition fleeces were weighed and sampled for objective measurement (including length and strength), under standard procedures of the AWTA.