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WOOL | 17 July 2009

Victorian Wools Dominate Australian Fleece Competition

A superfine Merino ram fleece from Rock-Bank Merino Stud at Victoria Valley in the Western District of Victoria has taken out the Grand Champion title at the Australian Fleece Competition, currently being held in Bendigo, Victoria.

The Australian Fleece Competition, in its 9th year, is the largest fully measured fleece competition in the world and in 2009 attracted 473 entries, from across Australia.

Over 60 per cent of the fleeces are sold at auction after the competition, with the “beyondblue” organisation receiving the proceeds, thanks to the generosity of fleece exhibitors.

To determine Australia’s top fleece in the competition, all are weighed and sampled for objective measurement (including length and strength), under standard procedures of the Australian Wool Testing Authority (AWTA).

This market-focused system is critical, according to the judges; Ken Welsh, Wool Manager for Techwool Trading, and Stephen Keys, Victorian Wool Manager for Landmark, who between them represent the processor/exporter and woolbroker/grower sectors.

It has meant that in most cases, fractions of a point separated the winner of a class, with a number of other exceptional entries close behind, a clear indication of the excellent standard of entries.

The grand champion fleece was entered by John and Rhonda Crawford, from Rock-Bank Merino Stud, with a fleece measured at 18.1 microns and a score of 93 points out of a possible 100.

“It is a real thrill to win Australia’s most prestigious fleece competition for the second time and especially to support the “beyondblue” organisation,” Mr Crawford said.

M & S Collins from Mt Bute Merinos, Linton, Western Victoria, won Reserve Champion Fleece, with their 18.5 micron fleece scoring 92.8 points, just 0.2 behind the grand champion.

The Champion Commercial Merino Fleece award went to C.B Gantner, Booroola, Avenel, in Victoria’s North East. Their 16.6 micron entry, with a clean fleece weight of 4.4 kilograms, scored 92.1 points.

The Australian Fleece Competition is jointly run by Landmark, AWTA and the Australian Sheep Breeders’ Association, involving the support of 29 sponsors and over 200 exhibitors. It offers a total of $13,000 in prizes, with the award for grand champion fleece being a $1,500 travel voucher sponsored by Landmark and WFI Insurance.

Competition convenor, Athol Frederick from Landmark, said that the Competition was thriving despite prolonged adverse seasonal conditions, with around half of this year’s entries being in the Commercial Fleece sections.

“The Australian Fleece Competition is so strong because it is based on both commercial and subjective assessment, which encourages entries from across Australia, grown under all conditions,” Mr Frederick said.

“It provides wool producers, both commercial and stud, with a very good demonstration of how their product compares with wool from other areas, and it is recognised as an excellent opportunity to showcase the Australian wool industry to the world.”

Summary detail for competition winners


Grand Champion John & Rhonda Crawford Rock-Bank Victoria Valley, Vic Landmark/WFI
Reserve Champion

M & S Collins

Mt Bute Linton, Vic Elanco
Champion Commercial

C B Gantner

Booroola Avenel, Vic Virbac
Reserve Commercial Champion

L Gleeson & Sons

Forrest Dale Costerfield, Vic Cydectin
Most Successful Entrant

G & M Wells

One Oak Jerilderie, NSW AWTA

For a full list of results and winners see the Landmark website at http://wool.landmark.com.au/

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