Six-month shearing hits target market length

Six-month shearing a winner for Nevertire wool producers.

Sheep
Lyndall Russ-Andrews, Tom Peters and Peter Andrews with his Merino ewes a fortnight after shearing at Tabratong, Nevertire. Photo by Mark Griggs.

Lyndall Russ-Andrews, Tom Peters and Peter Andrews with his Merino ewes a fortnight after shearing at Tabratong, Nevertire. Photo by Mark Griggs.

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Six-month shearing proves a winner for Nevertire wool producers.

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As soon as wool auctions fire up again, Peter and Lyndall Andrews of Tabratong, Nevertire, said they will be meeting the market.

They finished shearing their 1500 head of Merinos with eight-months wool on them two weeks ago.

"We work on the pretence that the market could always go down, so we find it is easier to cash it on the day," Mr Andrews said.

"At the end of the day, you have to be happy with what you get because it could be a hell of a lot worse."

Running a full self-replacing Merino enterprise using Kerin Poll bloodlines, the Andrews have felt the full brunt of the recent drought, having to de-stock more than half of their flock.

Their sheep numbers have been reduced from 4800 to just 1500 with their wool cut diminishing considerably.

For the last six years they have followed a six to eight-month shearing program, one that allows them to adjust shearing times around an alternating farming schedule and unpredictable seasons.

"We figured if we could spread our income out every six to eight months with our wool clip it would work better for us," Mr Andrews said.

"We have since worked out you don't have to lock it in at that six-month period. We can swap and change depending on when the ewes are lambing or if we are coming into summer and the flies are a problem."

An advantage of the shorter shearing cycle is the improvement in the strength of the wool, Mr Andrews said.

Based on last year's clip, the length was a little shorter due to the sheep doing it tougher through the drought, but the strength improved, making up for the loss in staple length.

"The last few years of drought has been a real test for us, but generally we have still been around that 70mm to 75mm average and buyers seem to favour that length," he said.

"They are still cutting 50mm to 80mm depending on the season."

Due to the change in the season and the ewes being heavy in lamb, Mr Andrews said they were concerned they may have had to deal with a break in the wool.

"But it turned out the whole clip was a good line of wool - AAAM," Mr Andrews said.

"With everything going on it is normal to panic before you sell. We realise we won't be getting $2000 a bale, but I can remember just six or seven years ago selling wool for just $450 to $500 a bale."

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