CROOKWELL fine wool growers Paul and Margy Seaman have created Australian Fleece Competition history – winning the Grand Champion prize with a commercial fine Merino fleece.
It is the first time in the competition’s 16-year history that the prestigious Grand Champion prize has been won with a commercial fleece.
The Grand Champion trophy has previously only been won with stud fleeces, but the Seaman’s 17.7 micron fleece from a three-year-old wether scored 96.10 out of a possible 100 points to win the top accolade and the champion commercial fleece award from 480 other entries.
The Seamans have previously won commercial sheep awards at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show in Bendigo and have been supporting the fleece competition for more than 10 years. They win a travel voucher valued at $2000.
Mr Seaman said he and his wife were honoured to have a fleece judged as Grand Champion, “particularly being the first exhibitor to win with a commercial fleece.”
“Wool is the ultimate fabric and a labour of love for us, with a fantastic future due to diligent breeders and scientific research,” he said.
“This is way above what we’ve ever won before,” Mrs Seaman said.
The Seamans’ fine-medium wool flock at ‘Rosemont’ is based on Merryville and Demondrille blood with a breeding focus on good conformation with stylish wool. The couple also sold about 55 bales of ewe wool in Sydney this week, achieving what Mrs Seaman described as “record prices for us”. Australian Wool Network state manager Mark Hedley said all the Rosemont fleece sold for more than 1100c/kg greasy and up to 1196c/kg, or 1520-1650c/kg clean.
“It was all style 4 best topmakers — it certainly sold very soundly.”
The reserve champion fleece in the competition was entered by J.B. and J.B. Russell, from the Melrose Merino Stud, Nurrabiel, Victoria, with a Fine Merino entry which scored 96 point, a mere 0.1 points behind the Grand Champion. HM Barty & Sons, “Beverley Merino Stud”, Redesdale, Victoria, continued their successful fleece competition history by winning the Most Successful Stud Exhibitor trophy
The Global Dohne Conference feature attracted 40 fleeces to the competition and the Champion Dohne fleece award was taken out by Margie Pye, Caroonboon, Wanganella, New South Wales. The reserve champion Dohne fleece award went to Richard Beggs, Nareeb Nareeb Dohne Stud, Glenthompson, Victoria.
Judges for this year’s competition were United Wool Company director Andrew Jackson and Landmark Queensland wool account manager Matthew Thomas. Both praised the high standard of the entries, and said the impeccable quality of the fleeces was reflected by the record high points achieved this year.
The competition is a joint effort by AWTA, the Australian Sheep Breeders Association and Landmark, and is run in conjunction with the Australian Sheep and Wool Show, held in Bendigo from July 15-17.
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, Diabetes Australia. This year the Australian Sheep and Wool Show coincides with National Diabetes week.
Click here to see the Australian Fleece Competition results table.