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WOOL | 17 July 2014

Mt Challicum Fleece Tops Show

Phil & Kim Hartwich, from Mt Challicum Merino Stud, have taken out the Grand Champion Fleece title at the Australian Fleece Competition in Bendigo with an Ultrafine Merino fleece.

“Mt Challicum” is located near Ararat in Western Victoria, and has been a long time supporter of the fleece competition.

The Australian Fleece Competition, now in its 14th year, is the largest fully measured fleece competition in the world, this year attracting nearly 500 entries, which is a joint effort by AWTA, ASBA & Landmark.

The competition is held in conjunction with the Australian Sheep and Wool Show, which will be held in Bendigo this Friday 18 July to Sunday 20 July.

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, Make a Wish Foundation.

The Grand Champion 16.5 micron fleece scored 94.85 out of a possible 100 points for its Ultrafine Merino Ram fleece.

Phil & Kim said that they were “pleased and honored” to take out the Grand Champion fleece title. “One of the special aspects of this competition is that we can donate our fleeces to worthy charities”

Last year’s champion, Wurrook, from Rokewood in Victoria exhibited the Reserve Grand Champion Fleece, scoring 93.25 for their 15.2-micron Extra Ultrafine Merino fleece.

The Conrayn Merino Stud in the Monaro district of NSW was awarded most successful exhibitor for the third year running.

PT Venning from Mid-North South Australia claimed the Champion Commercial Fleece sash with a score of 92.45 for their 17.3 micron fleece.

Tianyu Wool buyer Rod McLeish and Landmark Yennora Wool Manager David Freeman judged the competition, and praised the high standard of the entries. Mr Freeman acknowledged the difficult growing conditions throughout large parts of Australia, while Mr McLeish highlighted the competitions unique combination of traditional fleece judging and commercial wool trade processing requirements.

“Meeting the criteria that processors require is a key factor in identifying fleeces that excel both subjectively and objectively” Mr McLeish said.

Competition convener, Landmark Bendigo’s Athol Frederick said picking the winning entries was always a difficult task for judges, and highlighted the fact that from the 30 prizes available in the combined Stud and Commercial sections, 28 individual winners shared in the spoils.

The Australian Fleece Competition is organised by Landmark, Australian Wool Testing Authority (AWTA) and the Australian Sheep Breeder’s Association with the support of 28 sponsors and more than 180 exhibitors.

The competition offers $14,000 in prizes, with the Grand Champion fleece exhibitor collecting a $2000 travel voucher sponsored by Landmark and WFI Insurance.

The Performance Class, which caters for exhibitors shearing in six to eight-month cycles commercially, received more than 30 entries. Charinga Merino Stud from Victoria won both the Champion and Reserve in this class.

Mr Frederick said this year’s chosen charity, Make a Wish Foundation, who’s mission is to grant the wishes of children with life threatening medical conditions. “Over the past 13 years, exhibitors in the Australian Fleece Competition have donated more than $94,000 worth of fleeces to National charities. The generosity from wool growers and sponsors is overwhelming” Mr Frederick said.

All competition fleeces were weighed and sampled for objective measurement (including length and strength), under standard procedures of the AWTA.

For more information on the Australian Fleece Competition, please contact the below:

Athol Frederick
Convener, Australian Fleece Competition
0428 510 518

Tim Steere
0407 116 416

Rod McLeish
Tianyu Wool Buyer
0417 919 238

David Freeman
Fleece Competition Judge, Landmark
0408 467 649

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