Wool Processing

Shearer sets new women’s eight hour strong wool ewe record

Doug Laing, Shearing Sports New Zealand, January 8, 2024

Amy Silcock in the last stages of her record shear, about the time she passed the previous record of 370 ewes. Image – SSNZ.

FARMER turned shearer Amy Silcock smashed the world women’s solo eight hour strong wool ewe record near the New Zealand town of Pahiatua yesterday, but the elation was still dimmed by the couple that got way.

Shearing under the watch of four World Sheep Shearing Record Society judges, the 37 year-old claimed the women’s shearing record with a tally of 386 at Ross Na Clonagh Farm, just off the Pahiatua track and where the temperature in the four-stand wool shed soared to about 32 degrees Celsius late in the afternoon.

But her final tally could have been 388, with the judges rejecting two of those shorn in the last of the four two-hour runs during the record bid that started at 7am, with breaks for morning and afternoon tea and lunch. She passed the previous record of 370 half an hour before the last of the sheep was put through the porthole just after 5pm.

Amy Silcock after setting a new record.

Keeping just ahead of the required pace from the start, Silcock caught, sheared and dispatched close to 25 tonnes of sheep and added about 1.35 tonnes of wool to the national fleece clip, the first three runs without blemish. With 95 and 97 in the two runs before lunch and a gut-busting 101 in the first two hours after what was a light graze, she still got 93 in the last two hours, but said, towel across the shoulders, stubbie in hand but strung out on the grass outside.

“I’m disappointed I lost two in the last run,” she said.

“I’m glad I got that third run (the 101), but it buggered me. I’ve got nothing left.”

Previous holder and Kent farmer Marie Prebble had runs of 94, 93, 93, and 90 when she established the record in the United Kingdom in August 2022.

Now the holder of two-records – having first appeared on the records scene in a women’s four-stand lamb shearing tally – Silcock did have enough in her afterwards to say she’s got more to come.

“I’d like to do a two-stand,” she said.

“Just got to find the right person and the right sheep.”

There had been a scare with rain and a drop in temperature on Saturday, when a shear of 10 of the flock produced an average 3.478kg a ewe, safely above the minimum requirement of 3kg.

It proved ideal on the day, but how long she will be the holder depends on the first challenge, on Wednesday, when the record will be tackled by well-performed competition shearer Catherine Mullooly at Nukuhakari Station, 780 Te Marama Road, Waikawau, on the North Taranaki coast west of Te Kuiti.

Also at Ross Na Clonagh was Scottish shearer Una Cameron, who gave Silcock her first shearing job in the UK, and who is also planning a ewes record in the UK in August – “but not sure which one.”

Judging panel convener Mike Henderson, a New Zealander based in West Australia for many years and living at Dongara, north of Perth, described Silcock’s achievement as “a gutsy effort”, with a good support crew, including farmers Matt and Sarah Walker.

The Summer is now heading for a reshaping of all four women’s solo strong wool records, with both the eight hour and nine hour lamb shearing records having been smashed before Christmas, and an attack on the nine hour ewe record scheduled for February.

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