Top-end Merino sire focus rewards Victorian growers

Sheep Central June 24, 2024


From left, Emily, Grace, Michelle and David Elsom are presented the awards by ICCF Group chairman and founder Ye Shouzeng.

FOCUS on top-end ram purchases, and selection for consistent quality 16-18 micron wool has paid off for the Elsom family in south-west Victoria.

The family’s self-replacing Coryule blood flock at Waeeabkook south of Hamilton has won the prestigious ICICLE Nature Way award and Nanshan Wool Supremacy award.

Australian Wool Innovation recently joined forces with Chinese brand, ICICLE, to produce a traceable Merino wool collection for Autumn/Winter 2024.

ICICLE is a premium Chinese brand and part of the ICCF Group, a vertically integrated high-end fashion concern adhering to sustainable development.

The A/W2024 collection has two core ranges: The Superfine Merino Wool Collection and DEW Wool Collection, that embody a commitment to traceability with each garment featuring a QR code to  help customers verify the authenticity and origins of the wool within each garment, AWI said.

The DEW Wool Collection uses the exclusive “Dew” fabric supplied by Dino Filarte, the premium brand from Nanshan Zhishang Technology Co., Ltd. AWI said the world-first technology combines Australian Merino wool and silk with a patented chemical-free process. The result is an innovative fabric which has a luxurious, voluminous texture while being lightweight, breathable, easy to care for and naturally wind and water-resistant, AWI said.

And the DEW Wool Collection can now be traced back to the Old Ripponhurst property in Warrabkook, Victoria (‘YARRABIN/E’ brand), operated by David and Michelle Elsom with their daughters, Grace and Emily.

Last week, ICICLE and Nanshan Zhishang, travelled to Australia to present the Elsom family with the two awards. AWI said the ICICLE Nature Way Award honours the exploration of a more advanced harmony between man and nature. The Nanshan Wool Supremacy Award is based on the highest  possible processing ability of wool purchased by Nanshan Zhishang.

The wool from the YARRABIN/E clip was used in the Nanshan Optim 17.5 micron cloth developed for the ICICLE brand.

Some of the ICICLE garments on display in the Elsom wool shed.

Merinos and beef cattle are a good mix at Warrabkook

Mr Elsom said the family had been running producing fine wool at Warrabkook for about 25 years, running about 4500 Merinos cutting 5.5-6 kilograms annually. The property also runs beef cattle, balancing the workload for the family.

He said wool prices are “not too bad” at the moment.

“If you produce a good product, you get rewarded for it.”

Despite the tighter season, he said the operation produced all its own hay and silage and has been able to maintain quality and cut.

“I think we had more feed three weeks ago than now, but we never have a bad year around here, I don’t think.”

Mrs Elsom said the award was a reward for Mr Elsom’s investment in top-end rams at Coryule.

“Wherever we’ve been, whether it is bulls or sheep, we always buy that top end and that’s how you get better stock all round.

“Even the shearers have been commenting how good the wool was too.””

As well as the prestigious awards, the Elsom family will have travel and accommodation for two covered to visit the Nanshan Zhishang manufacturing facility, the Filarte Service Centre and Nanshan Industrial Park in Longkou, as well as local tourism opportunities. The Elsom family will also be invited to next year’s wool trade forum hosted by the Nanshan Group at Riverside Oaks at Cattai, NSW in April 2025.

Mr Elsom said it had not been decided which family members would make the trip.

“Most likely I will just stay at home producing wool.”

ICCF Group president, ICICLE co-founder and chief executive officer Ye Shouzeng, said the group is committed to providing the world with environmentally friendly fashions of high-quality materials.

Managing director of the Nashan Group in Australia Kevin Xing said the Nanshan Zhishang facility chooses to use 100 percent Australian Merino wool only.

“Our aim is to manufacture the highest quality worsted fabrics.”

The Nashan wool fabrics are ultimately transformed into men’s and women’s suiting and premium worsted garments on site at fully vertical operation at Longkou, Shandong China.

“We must endeavour to source the best raw materials,” Mr Xing said.

“Australian wool growers fully meet that need, so we wished to create an award for them for their commitment to growing Merino.”

AWI CEO John Roberts said the awards showcase ICICLE and Nanshan’s ongoing support and appreciation for Australian wool growers.

“It is a true indicator of the strong relationship that exists in our iconic wool industry between Australia and China.”


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  1. Marc Greening, June 25, 2024

    Congratulations to the Elsom family. A great family farming success story. It’s just wonderful seeing how each family member takes an interest and contributes to their farming operation.

  2. Brendan Mahoney, June 25, 2024

    Dear AWI, you can travel Australia far and wide and you will find someone to say wool prices are good. The reality is that wool prices are shit. 45 million dollars a year to AWI and they try to tell us wool prices are good and the industry has a future?
    Get to work and get the Eastern Market Indicator above 200c/kg. Until then, the average farmer will see AWI as a useless bunch of bureaucrats and a waste of money.

  3. Peter Small, June 25, 2024

    Congratulations to the Elsom family from ‘Warrabkook’ south of Hamilton in south-western Victoria for obtaining this prestigious award. And what an opportunity lost by AWI in not promoting this event and informing district growers of AWI’s sustainable wool program and promote an amazing flock of 4500 Merinos producing 5.5-6kgs of 16-18 micron wool”.

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