Shalimar Park, located near Walcha, NSW, have been a longtime supporter of the competition, but this is the first time they have been awarded the champion fleece.
The Australian Fleece Competition, in its 22nd year, is the largest fully measured fleece competition in the world, attracting 343 entries from 115 exhibiters.
Exporter judge, Mr Lou Morsh, said that he was also impressed with the standard of fleeces submitted. “Being my second opportunity to judge the competition, the depth of quality was far greater this time I believe, and judging was more difficult. The champion fleeces were standouts in their field,” Lou said.
The competition is a joint effort by the Australian Sheep Breeders Association (ASBA), Australian Wool Testing Authority (AWTA) & Nutrien Ag Solutions and is run in conjunction with the Australian Sheep and Wool Show (14- 16 July, Bendigo).
The Grand Champion 16.3 micron fleece was in the Ultrafine Merino Stud Ewe or Wether class and scored 95.78 out of a possible 100 points.
Alison van Eyk from Shalimar Park said she was thrilled to win the Grand Champion Fleece at the 2023 Australian Fleece Competition.
“I have always dreamed of winning this award, but with so many outstanding fleeces each year, I didn’t think it would ever happen. Shalimar Park has been exhibiting fleeces in this competition close to 15 years” Alison said.
Last year’s winners, the Hartwich family from Mt Challicum Merino Stud, Ararat, Victoria, continued their recent success in the competition by taking out the Reserve Grand Champion honor. Their 14.8 Extra Ultrafine Merino fleece scored 95.50 points, only .28 points behind Shalimar Park.
Pictured: Shalimar Park Merino Stud's winning Ultrafine Merino fleece.
Connorville Station, Cressy, Tasmania, won the Champion Commercial fleece with an 18.4 micron Superfine Merino scoring 91.80 points.
Candice Cordy, Nutrien Ag Solutions Wool Account Manager and Australian Fleece Competition Convenor, said, said that the competition ran smoothly this year, and agreed that the quality of fleeces was outstanding.
“Given the large number of moving parts that come together to make the competition a success, this year worked well. The support from exhibitors, as well as our generous sponsors, allows us to put together an event that we are all proud of,” Candice said.
Supported by 23 sponsors, the competition offers $18,000 in prizes, with the Grand Champion fleece exhibitor collecting a $2,200 travel voucher sponsored by Nutrien Ag Solutions and Elanco Animal Health.
D & RE Humbert Pty Ltd, Kedleston Park, Victoria, were this year’s winners of the Performance Class with a 17.8 micron fleece scoring 86.90 points, which caters for exhibitors shearing in six to eight-month cycles commercially.
Almost two thirds of the fleeces on show were donated by exhibitors to be auctioned at the completion of the competition, with all proceeds donated to a different nominated charity each year. Since its inception, more than $200,000 has been raised.
This years nominated charity is Down syndrome Australia, who provide a range of support & service to people with Down syndrome, their families & supporters.
All competition fleeces were weighed and sampled for objective measurement (including length and strength), under standard procedures of the Australian Wool Testing Authority.
You can see the full results table here.
For more information on the Australian Fleece Competition, please contact:
Convener, Australian Fleece Competition
0408 963 109
AWTA (Australian Wool Testing Authority)
0407 116 416