Bright fleece nets top honour

A Tasmanian wool-growing family from Lemont has won the Elders Supreme Clip of the Year Award at Sheepvention at Hamilton, Victoria.

In its 32nd year, Sheepvention recognises exceptional wool growers across the country with the Manning family taking this year’s title for their top clip.

The Manning family’s Miena Estate in Tasmania’s central region is a third-generation farm run by Michael and his son James who have been recognised for their bright fleece, desirable specifications and well-articulated paperwork.

Since the 1950s, the 4050ha Miena Estate has been running Saxon Merinos.

The property is a mix of 70 per cent native and 30 per cent improved pasture.

They now run look after 13,000 sheep with 99 per cent Merino.

Miena Estate won the award with an average of a 17.7 micron with a 77 per cent yield.

The winning clip was classed by woo classer Nerolie French from Buckland who has been working with Miena Estate for more than 10 years.

Mr Manning said winning the award meant a lot to the family and to those involved in operations on the farm.

“It’s good recognition for the hard work that’s been done and especially since we’re getting into a drier time, it gives us a bit of confidence,” he said.

“Winning the award feels good, a few Tasmanians have been winning the awards lately.

“Being from down here doesn’t have to be an impediment to everything,” he said.

“It shows Tasmanians grow nice wool and it helps the end result of selling wool.”

On average it takes six to eight weeks to get through all their shearing.

This year they had a few different shearing times which meant the fleece they presented were shorter than they hoped for.

“We were told that the fleeces were really nice, bright and clean in the sale room,” Mr Manning said.

“But with the award it wasn’t just the fleece they looked at, it was the specifications and paperwork by the woolclasser as well,” Mr Manning said.

With wool being their main enterprise, they have a contract with a percentage of their wool being sold to Italian mill Vitale Barberis Canonico with the rest being sold at the auctions.

They buy in a majority of their rams from Sierra Park in Victoria as well as Hillcrest in New South Wales but breed around 100 rams of their own each year.

Miena Estate has one full-time employee, Katelin Barker, who looks after all operations on the farm.

She has been working on the farm for about six years and also worked previously in the shearing shed.

Mr Manning said having a team that has worked together for a long time plays a big part in winning awards such as these.

“Everyone’s on the same page as to what’s required and is working together with the same goal in mind, knowing why we’re doing certain things the way we do.”

Mr Manning said they will be aiming to achieve the same goals as this year in future.

“We should be better next year as we will have the proper length for our fleece compared to this year,” he said.

“This year, I am aiming to have just two different shearing times which will be ewes then a wether and ram shearing.”

Mr Manning thanked those who were involved in achieving the award.

“I’d like to thank Elders District Wool Manager, Damien Whitely for all his assistance and also Lachie Brown from Elders in Victoria because it was a Tasmanian and Victorian award,” he said.