Sherri Symons’ small solution to a big crossbred wool problem

Terry Sim, August 9, 2023

Sherri Symons was a winner in the Sheepvention Inventions competition with her Aussie Wool Pellets.

SOUTH-WEST Victorian woman Sherri Symons has come up with a truly homegrown solution to low crossbred wool prices and promote the industry.

She has implemented a small wool-pelleting system that turns wool into a garden fertilizer and aims to leverage it to help keep Australia rural youth interested in the sheep and wool industry.

The wool classer and classer-trainer is the daughter of Ellerslie composite lamb producers Neville and Carla Symons and is currently sourcing her wool from her parents’ on-farm stocks.

“At home, we’ve got five years’ worth of it, so I’m utilizing that.

“I want to get the message to the world out there that we can be doing something with our broad and coarse wool.”

Brokers and growers across Australia have hundreds of tonnes of low or no-value wool held in storage waiting for an auction price uplift or another marketing option.

Her idea last month won her first place and $10,000 at the regional Ideas Place Pitch Night for small start-ups and won her section in the Investions competition at the Sheepvention Rural Expo in Hamilton on Sunday.

“I’m utilizing something that is natural, something that is reneweable, it’s biodegradable, it holds water, it’s beneficial for the soil and utilizing a product that is otherwise unsaleable.

“It holds three times its own eight in water,” Sherri said.

Her brother TJ helped her adapt a pellet mill that is able make 6.5 kilograms of product in half an hour.

She has been developing the product for the past 2.5 years and selling it for use in gardens in small quantity bags.

“Why not harness the natural properties of the wool and put it into the soil for the benefit of enhancing the land, completing the carbon cycle.

“We’ve got all these natural properties of wool that we need to be using and harnessing.”

Sherri has had the product tested for Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium and is working on getting further data on the makeup of the product.

Another unidentified wool grower said she also had tonnes of wool in storage – two years’ worth — on the family farm.

“If it works, it will be good.”

Sherri said she is working on getting organic status for her product. She said it can also be used as a natural slug and snail deterrent.

“It can also act as mulch as well; holding the moisture and temperature in the soil.”

She using her $10,000 pitch win to help schools involved in school garden programs by offering them three kilograms of wool pellets to use in their garden as long as she gets an opportunity to promote the value of the sheep and wool industry.

“Because I fear that in the next 20 years, even less, some people have been saying to me that we will not have the young people coming into the industry.”

She is also offering free product to Landcare groups and catchment management authorities.

“I want this to be utilised out there in the environment and that is where we are going to get all the information from.”

SheerSpeed’s Roger and Steven Hein won the 2023 Sheepvention Inventions competition for best innovation with their Woolmaster wireless control shearing handpiece.



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