Woolgrowers expand skills with classing

12 Feb, 2018 04:00 AM
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Graduates from Rylington Park's first owner wool classer course, were Sophie Forrester (left), Kojonup, Hayden Harries, Trigwell, Lucy Bleechmore, Boyup Brook, Rylington Park committee chairman and local Landmark wool area manager Matt Chambers, Harold Wass, Mayanup, Pat Sharpe, Capel, Clinton Graham, Mayanup, Jamie Forbes, Boyup Brook, Nick Hornibrook, Capel, Natalee Dalton, Boyup Brook, Hugh Mor
Graduates from Rylington Park's first owner wool classer course, were Sophie Forrester (left), Kojonup, Hayden Harries, Trigwell, Lucy Bleechmore, Boyup Brook, Rylington Park committee chairman and local Landmark wool area manager Matt Chambers, Harold Wass, Mayanup, Pat Sharpe, Capel, Clinton Graham, Mayanup, Jamie Forbes, Boyup Brook, Nick Hornibrook, Capel, Natalee Dalton, Boyup Brook, Hugh Mor

GENERATIONAL change in family farming was a catalyst for Rylington Park, Mayanup, to offer woolgrowers an owner wool classer course that was completed on Thursday recently.

Ten woolgrowers, including six locals from Boyup Brook and Mayanup, but others from as far afield as Bencubbin, graduated and can now apply for their own classer’s stencils and class their own wool clips.

Rylington Park management committee chairman and local Landmark wool area manager Matt Chambers said the Certificate III in wool clip preparation owner wool classer course was initiated by the committee as an extension to shearer and wool-handler training already run in Rylington’s shearing shed.

“The need was identified by the committee with a generational change of family farming operations in the district,” Mr Chambers said.

“Some people were using retired parents’ stencils or selling their wool unclassed.

“The original cost of the course was seen as a hindrance to participants so the committee decided to subsidise Boyup Brook residents $1000 upon completion.

“We are very pleased with the uptake of the course and hope to run it again same time next year.

“We would like to thank Rob Carter (South Regional TAFE wool classing lecturer who was one of the inaugural Australian Wool Industry Medal recipients in August, 2017) for his work, we are very fortunate to have such a high quality of tuition.

“We would like to congratulate the participants and hope the skills they have learnt will be of great use to them in the future.

“Rylington Park continues to look for opportunities such as this to improve the quality of local farming operations through research and training,” Mr Chambers said.

Mr Carter said the course concluded with a three-week theory block delivered during January at Rylington Park to reinforce the practical skills undertaken in shearing sheds.

The course taught participants about “maintaining work health and safety processes during the wool harvesting operations and the responsibilities they have as woolgrowers, wool classers and employers”, Mr Carter said.

It also covered preparing for shearing and crutching, managing wool harvesting operations, supervising staff during preparation of the wool clip and performing shed duties, he said.

Technical aspects covered included appraising wool and classing it into uniform, consistent lines of fleece with skirtings and other oddment lines segregated, bale weights and lengths, branding and documentation.

New technologies like electronic wool classing stationary, the Woolcheque price calculator, bale weight and other mobile phone apps were also covered.

Mr Carter said the owner classer course stressed the importance of complying with the Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) code of practice and the significance of completing and signing a National Wool Declaration (NWD).

“Wool has to compete with other fibres in a global textiles market – classing to the AWEX code of practice is a quality assurance strategy for our industry (and the NWD) is a quality assurance document which helps safeguard the reputation of the Australian wool industry,” Mr Carter said.

For information on courses run at Rylington Park contact managers Erlanda and Mark Deas on 9765 3012 or check out Rylington Park’s Facebook page.

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FarmWeekly
Mal Gill

Mal Gill

is wool and dairy writer for Farm Weekly

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