KAROLIN MACGREGOR, Tasmanian Country
April 26, 2019 12:00am
Allan and Carol Phillips of Glen Stuart at Deddington who won 2nd place in the Ermenegildo Zegna Superfine Wool Trophy prepare a fleece for the Campbell Town Show. PICTURE: CHRIS KIDD
TASMANIAN superfine wool put in a good show at the prestigious Ermenegildo Zegna Wool Trophy awards, with the state accounting for six of the ten finalists.
Each year the Superfine Wool Trophy and the Vellus Aureum Trophy are awarded to top wool growers in Australia and New Zealand.
Set up 55 years ago by Italian fashion king Ermenegildo Zegna, the world’s oldest wool competition aims to encourage and reward breeders’ commitment to quality.
The fleeces are judged according to strict criteria including fineness, style, strength, colour and evenness.
This year’s superfine trophy was won by David and Angie Waters from Tarrangower Merinos in NSW for the third year in a row.
Allan and Carolyn Phillips from Glen Stuart at Deddington placed second and Ed Hundy from NSW was third.
Tasmanian properties Rose Villa at Ross, Snowhill at Avoca and Macquarie Hills at Longford were all first-time finalists. The other Tasmanian producers in the top 10 were Simon Cameron from the Kingston property and Carol and Rodney Westmore from Patterdale.
The Vellus Aureum Trophy went to David and Susan Rowbottom from Victoria.
Mr Phillips said it was fantastic to see so many Tasmanian producers included.
“It was certainly a reflection of the good wool form down here and the good season we had,” Mr Phillips said.
Three years ago the Zegna competition changed from single-fleece entries to include a line or bale of wool.
The Phillips’ 14.9-micron bale was shorn off some bush- run wethers.
Richard Gee from Snowhill made his finals debut this year and said the competition had been a great experience.
“It’s a good thing to be involved with and there’s a pretty good incentive too because they purchase the wool at a premium above the market,” he said.
Mr Gee runs Saxon merinos at Snowhill near Avoca and said the sheep were ideally suited to the Fingal Valley.
Mr Gee said his flock’s micron average was 16 to 16.5.
“They’re not very heavy cutters but they’ll produce a good fleece even in a dry year.
“There’s fewer and fewer people producing these types of wools now. I grew up producing this type of wool but it’s really a niche product now.”
Four of the six clips in the finals were also classed by Tasmanian Alistair Strickland.
Roberts wool manager Ste-wart Raine said so many Tasmanian producers, including four of his company's clients, making the final 10 was a credit to everyone involved.
“It’s certainly an acknowledgment that we grow some of the best superfine type of wools in the country, if not the world,” he said.
“It reinforces the standards we have here, not only from the breeding and production side, but also for our shearing teams and wool classers.”
Mr Raine said confidence across the wool industry remained buoyant.
“We’re seeing Merino wools selling really well. We have come off the record levels but they are still selling at levels the younger growers haven't seen in their lifetime.”