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Tasmanian clip wins latest Elders supreme award at Sheepvention

Terry Sim, August 5, 2022

Elders 2021-22 Supreme Clip Award winners, Nick and Maria Weedington, with their sheep classer Damien Whiteley, centre, at Sheepvention.

A WOOL-GROWING family soon to celebrate 200 years on the same property in central Tasmania has won their first Elders Southern Supreme Clip award, taking out the 2021/22 award from a top field of grower clients.

John and Maria Weeding from Oatlands accepted the award at the Sheepvention Rural Expo in Hamilton this week on behalf of the operation which also includes their sons Anthony and Nick.

Elders wool business specialist Samantha Wan said the J. & M. Weeding Partnership won the award with a bright, stylish clip and faultless paperwork sold in July 2021.

The fleece wool was 76 percent of the clip that averaged 18.6 micron, with a yield of 77 percent, average staple length of 73mm, tensile strength of 44 Newtons/kilotex and vegetable content of 0.4pc. The pieces made up 9pc, and tested at 16.7 micron, with a yield of 70pc, length of 70mm, tensile strength of 35N/kt and 2.3pc VM. The bellies were 6pc of the clip, and tested at 17.9 micron, with a yield of 67pc, staple length of 65mm, tensile strength of 28N/kt and 1.3pc VM.

John Weeding said his wife had been wanting to win the award for years and Maria said: “It’s a lovely thing to win.”

“It’s amazing … very excited.”

“We keep our little (monthly) certificates and for the highest price in a sale.

“We put them up in the shed because I think it shows that we appreciate the efforts that our shearers and our wool classers make,” she said.

Mrs Weeding said the family will have been on ‘Weedington’ near Oatlands for 200 years next year.

“It’s very much a family-run farm and everybody works pretty hard.”

Weeding said the winning clip came from about 3200 mixed sex Merino hoggets, classed by Nick, in what was a good year for growing wool in the 500mm rainfall area.

The Weedings breed their own poll rams from 480 stud ewes, that carry some Wallaloo Park, Glenlea Park and Stockton blood. They also run a commercial flock of 5500 breeding ewes on the family property ‘Weedington’, cutting more than six kilograms of wool per head annually with an average fibre diameter of 18.8 micron. Their sheep classer is Damien Whiteley.

Mrs Weeding said the family aimed to produce a bolder crimped, white and bright “positive micron style of wool.” Ms Wan said the Weedingtons continue to breed easy-care plain bodied large framed sheep for Tasmanian conditions with an emphasis on good conformation, sound hooves and strong poll characteristics.

The other 2021/22 monthly clip award winners were: August – Croxton Pastoral Company, Croxton, Victoria, classer Chris Bensch; September – C.S & J.M. Grant, Raglan, Victoria, classer Grace Jones; October – J.E. & H Harvey, The Poplars, Murgheboluc, Victoria, classer James Harvey; November – A.C. & N.H. Smith, Omeo, Victoria, classer Belinda Smith; December – D.A. Padgett, Warrak, Victoria, classer Keith Thomas; January – J.W. Freeman, The Fringe, Briagolong, Victoria, classer John Freeman; February – Echo Cottage Pty Ltd, Nubeena, Tasmania, classer Gary Westwood, and D. & A. Hayward, Omeo, Victoria, classer R. Richardson; March – Glen Dhu Farming Pty Ltd, Ouse, Tasmania, classer Kellie Hazell; April – Eldamead Pty Ltd, Lexton, Victoria, classer Renee Whakatau; May – Thurles Partnership, Melville Forest, Victoria, classer Maria Gnys; June – D.J. & M.A. Hunt, Mount Doran, classers Ken Mason and Annie May Fagg.

Bensch family wins 2019/20 award

Elders also presented the winners of the 2019/20 and 2020/21 clip awards at Sheepvention.

The 2019/20 winner was the clip from the Bensch family’s Croxton Pastoral Ltd at Tarrington in Victoria, classed by Chris Bensch. The clip won the same award 16 years ago.

Ms Wan said clip was well classed with a clear concise classer’s speci, rating highly for style and presentation. The fleece wools averaged at 17 microns with a tensile strength of 42N/kt and a yield of 74.6pc. She said the Bensch flock is based on Pendarra and Stockton bloodlines and has a strong focus on biosecurity and sustainability.

Sierra Park wins with Anna and her team

The 2020/21 winner was the clip from Sierra Park Pty Ltd at Victoria Valley in Victoria, classed by Anna Topia. Ms Wan said the Crawford family grows traditional wool for a modern world and the farm to fibre concept weaves through it. Though they have been known to produce bales of 12.8 micron wool, the winning clip averaged 16.8 micron with a 71pc yield and tensile strength of 40N/kt. Master wool classer Anna said it was amazing to class the clip for the first time and win the award on the retirement of Bill Crawford from the job. She thanked the Crawfords and others for looking after her children to enable her to work at Sierra Park as a classer.

“When Bill retired they were looking for a master classer and I was a shed hand for seven years at Sierra Park and I said ‘please don’t look anywhere else, I’m right here, I’m your next classer’.”

She said it was magical to class the clip, with the help of Bill and wool handlers, including Sunii Tewhare, Tapiri Rewi and Selena Bray, and presser Hayden Donhart.

“That’s why I kept going back, the wool was so beautiful and fine, and I was working with Bill too.

“I have a lot of respect for Bill and he was happy to show me the ropes and how it all worked, because I’ve never classed a clip of this calibre before, especially 16,000 sheep.”

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