27 Jan 2017

Shearers hunt for best sheep in the land

6:22 am on 27 January 2017
Michael Hogan, left, and Dion Morrell. Sheep contest

Michael Hogan, left, and Dion Morrell. Photo: Supplied

Four and a half thousand sheep are being hand picked from Southland farms for the World Shearing and Woolhandling Championship in Invercargill next month.

Shearing contractor and former New Zealand shearing representative, Dion Morrell, is working with double world champion Alan MacDonald to head hunt the best sheep for the job.

The competition needs second shear sheep, full wool year-old sheep and lambs.

Mr Morrell said it was a big job because it was crucial to find the best sheep possible.

"At the end of the day we just want everybody to have the fairest chance of having their best shear and making sure that the sheep are as even as they can be.

"There's quite a bit of variation in a mob of sheep and there can be up to half a minute extra shearing time."

It had been an unusual summer so far, Mr Morrell said.

"It hasn't been very warm. We came through quite a cold winter down south this year but the sheep have come through really well.

"We checked the full wool sheep a couple of weeks ago and they're looking fantastic. The summer hasn't really kicked in down here yet but it doesn't seem to have effected the sheep yet."

Mr Morrell said it was a big sacrifice for the farmers who supply sheep because, while the shearing was done free of charge, there were a lot of hidden costs.

The World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships runs from 8 February to 11 February and draws competitors from 32 countries.

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