All shearer hands on deck amid short­age

Countryman - - WOOL - Cally Dupe

Hand­piece at the ready, the four­s­hearer team were a busy lot as they worked their way through a mob of 2200 Merino ewes at Tarin Rock.

With three shear­ers and a wool presser “on loan” from a Vic­to­rian con­trac­tor, Emma Morvel, the group shore about 600 head a day at the Wil­lock fam­ily’s farm late last month.

Spencer Shear­ing Ser­vice owner Dar­ren Spencer said it took four days for the team of four shear­ers, a wool classer and a wool presser to make their way through the job.

It’s a busy time on many farms, with pro­duc­ers smack in the mid­dle of spring shear­ing.

“This is one of the busiest times of the year, along with the other busy times of Jan­uary, Fe­bru­ary and March,” Mr Spencer said.

“It’s a tra­di­tional time to shear; a lot of peo­ple want to get it done be­fore seed gets into the wool.

“We are all hands on deck . . . we could do with an­other shearer or two, but there are just not enough out there.”

Mr Spencer’s team was hired to shear at the Wil­lock’s Sun­ny­dale prop­erty, which Ron and Chris­tine Wil­lock also farm with their two sons, Lind­say and Sam.

With a flock of 2200 Merino ewe and 1000ha of bar­ley and lupins to keep them busy, Lind­say and his wife Tahlia also run 100 free-range chick­ens for eggs.

The fam­ily’s East Mun­dulla blood-line ewes are be­ing mated with Dor­per rams, with the aim of breed­ing fat lambs to cash in on good lamb prices.

“We shore a lit­tle bit ear­lier this year; we were a bit short of feed and re­ally wanted to shift a few sheep,” Ron said. “We sold our wool at Fre­man­tle, for an av­er­age of about $13/kg. We’ve never seen a price like $14/kg be­fore.”

To fill the de­mand for shear­ers, Mr Spencer said he had bor­rowed work­ers from in­ter­state.

“A con­trac­tor friend of mine had a bit of a break in her pro­gram . . . she sent four shear­ers and a shed­hand from Vic­to­ria,” he said.

Mr Spencer also serves as the WA Shear­ing In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent.

Pic­tures: Cally Dupe

Shear­ers Har­leigh Reynolds, of Vic­to­ria, Karl Morgan, of Gooma­lling, Ja­son Robert­son, of Lake Grace, and Peter Noakes, of Gnowangerup.

Wool classer Ge­orgie Epiha, of Lake Grace.

Wool presser Lee Poul­ton, of South Aus­tralia.

Wool classer Ge­orgie Epiha, of Lake Grace.

Busy in the shed.

Shed­hand Wendy Cooper, of Perth.

Shearer Har­leigh Reynolds, of Vic­to­ria.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.