EIGHT WA growers represented the state in the nation's biggest fleece competition at last week's Australian Sheep and Wool show in Bendigo.
The growers sent a combined total of 28 fleeces to compete in the fifth annual Australian Fleece competition, which drew nearly 400 Merino fleeces from all Australian states and New Zealand.
Judge and Landmark Goulburn wool technical manager Craig Lawson said the overall standard of the showing was high.
"The wool in the stud category was of a particular high standard," Mr Lawson said.
"It was well presented, well grown and showed plenty of bloom and lustre.
"The fleeces in the commercial section were showing signs of the difficult past season."
Mr Lawson said the yields in the fleeces were down and many had plenty of dust penetration.
"Given the season experienced across the majority of the east the quality of the fleeces was tremendous."
The grand champion fleece of the show was exhibited by John Crawford, Rockbank stud, Dunkeld, Victoria.
The 17.8 micron fleece scored 90.05 points and was also awarded the ribbon for the champion superfine fleece.
The soft handling fleece also measured 16.3 CV, 99.8pc comfort factor, 101mm staple length, 47N/kt staple strength, yield 71.5pc, 8.4kg greasy fleece weight, 6kg clean fleece weight and a value of $66.
Judge and wool consultant Cam Cuthbertson, Geelong, said the grand champion fleece showed good definition, lustre and brightness, was well grown, dense and soft handling.
Although WA fleeces may have missed out on the major awards, a fleece from Russell and Heather Meaton's Misty Hills stud, Kojonup, was named the champion WA fleece.
This marked the first time in the competition that a champion ribbon had been awarded to the best fleece from every state.
The ultrafine fleece ewe fleece from Misty Hills scored 84.20 points, when it finished sixth in its class out of 23.
The fleece, which was off the stud's 2004 Perth Royal Show grand champion ewe, measured 15.7 microns, 15.3 CV, 99.9pc comfort factor, 99mm staple length, 33N/kt staple strength, 64.6pc yield, 6.1kg greasy fleece weight, 3.9kg clean fleece weight and had a value of $50.70.
Judge Cam Cuthbertson said the Misty Hills fleece was well defined, well grown and dense with good colour.
Along with the champion fleece, the Meatons exhibited another ultrafine ewe fleece, a superfine ram fleece and an ultrafine ram fleece in the show.
A number of fleeces exhibited by WA breeders won place ribbons in their classes.
The Grange stud, Egerton, exhibited three fleeces in the show, including two ultrafine ram fleeces that finished second and fourth in their class and a fine ram fleece that finished third.
The second place fleece measured 16.3 microns and had a value of $93.73, while the fine fleece measured 18.7 microns and was valued at $83.87.
Another to take home minor place ribbons was Roland Ritson's Grindon stud, Boyup Brook, which placed second and third in the extra ultrafine ram fleece class.
The second placed fleece measured 13.3 microns and a value of $73.10.
Grindon exhibited four fleeces.
The WA College of Agriculture Denmark was the only WA producer to exhibit in the commercial section.
The college exhibited six Merino fleeces and two Corriedales and received a third place in the extra superfine commercial ewe or wether class, with a 17.3 micron fleece and a fourth in the Corriedale ewe or wether class.
Other WA producers to exhibit Merino wool in the show were the Claypans stud, Corrigin, Woodacarra stud, Naraling, Wynarling stud, Geraldton and Paratone stud, Kojonup.
A number of Dohne breeders displayed wool at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show with the Roseville Park stud, Dubbo, NSW, accepting the ribbon for the champion Dohne fleece.
The fleece, off a 12-month-old ewe, measured 18.6 micron, 3.4SD, 18.3 CV, 99.1pc CF, with a yield of 71.2pc.
It weighed 5.6kg and achieved 85 points out of a possible 100.
The fleece was valued at 711c/kg clean or $39.96.
There were 10 fleeces from four Dohne breeders exhibited at the show, with the most valuable commercial fleece displayed by Glenaroua, Glenaroua, Victoria.
This fleece tested at 17.3 micron, 2.9SD, 16.8CV, 99.5pc CF and weighed 4.5kg.
It was valued at 900c/kg clean or $40.57.
The champion Dohne ram fleece was also exhibited by Roseville Park and this fleece tested at 18.4 micron, 7.7kg, 3.7SD, 20.1CV and 99.2pc CF.
It had a greasy value of 707c/kg (964c/kg clean) or $53.98.
Geoff Beeck, Summerfield, Katanning, and Murray Drage, Amuri Creek, Tambellup, exhibited a Dohne ram fleece in the competition.
The fleece, which measured 20.9 microns and a value of $34.28, finished second in the Dohne ram class.
Other fleeces to be entered along with the Merinos included 10 Dohnes, 17 Polwarths, 22 Corriedales and 28 British Breeds.