Holowiliena Station's Luke and Frances Frahn, via Cradock, have reigned supreme in the 25th annual School Of The Air Wool Show, taking out the grand champion fleece title at the Port Augusta event on Friday last week.
The Frahns placed first in the Adult Fine fleece section, being awarded 76.5 points out of a possible 100.
The 6.2-kilogram fleece had a yield of 74 per cent, and scored 10/10 for soundness, as well as 8/10 for character and style, evenness, and trueness to type.
The Frahns have entered the competition previously, but not for the past four years due to poor seasons in the area.
"We've had 64 millimetres of rain in November, that's our best rain since 2016, and so there is a bit more feed around," Luke said.
Holowiliena Station is running about 800 self-replacing Merinos at the moment, with the Frahns looking to grow the number to 4000-5000 sheep if the rain continues to fall.
It was a very close competition this year, with a large number of well-presented fleeces.
"We had sheep away on agistment at Sherlock and Coonalpyn for 12 months from October 2019 to October 2020, I have to thank the people down there who looked after our animals, we wouldn't have this win without that help," Luke said.
"We're extremely grateful."
The competition is jointly judged by Nutrien wool operations manager Adrian Dewell and Elders district wool manager Paul Noble, with Mr Dewell saying the uniformity of the fleece was a credit to the Frahns.
"The fleece had excellent visual characteristics, it was clean, and had very good colour as well," Mr Dewell said.
"It is so consistent too, even though the sheep were on agistment. To produce a fleece like this, with so little variation even though the sheep were moved around, is a testament to the Frahns."
More than 50 fleeces were entered into this year's competition, across six categories, with Paul Noble complimenting the high-quality entries.
"It was a very close competition this year, with a large number of well-presented fleeces," he said.
Also performing well were Daniel and Belinda Hatcher from The Oaks Station, via Hawker, who placed both first and second in the Adult Medium fleece category.
Daniel attributed the win to good quality breeding, with the 4000-head Merino flock based on East Bungaree bloodlines.
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Paul and Kate Greenfield, South Gap Station, via Port Augusta, raked in the awards, placing third in the Adult Medium fleece category, second in the Adult Fine fleece category, second in the Hogget fine fleece category and third in the Hogget Medium category.
The Greenfields will be completing the 140th and final year of Greenfields shearing at South Gap next year, with the family in the process of switching from running Merinos to Dorpers.
They have completely dispersed their 2020-drop maiden ewes, and have also sold their older ewes, and aim to be completely switched to Dorpers by December 2022.
Following the announcement of the winners, an auction and raffle was held, which raised more than $22,000, with the proceeds to be donated to SOTA and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Full results of the wool show winners are as follows:
- Adult fine fleece: 1. Holowiliena Station 2. South Gap Pastoral. 3. Cooyerdoo Station.
- Adult medium fleece: 1. The Oaks Station. 2. The Oaks Station. 3. South Gap Pastoral
- Adult strong fleece: 1. RF&JA McInnes. 2. Alpana Station. 3. Wartaka Pastoral Company
- Hogget fine fleece: 1. Whim Park. 2. South Gap Pastoral. 3. Pandurra Pastoral
- Hogget medium fleece: 1. Wilkatana Station. 2. Oakden Hills, Nutt Pastoral Nominees. 3. South Gap Pastoral.
- Weaner fleece: 1. Holowiliena South. 2. Wilgena Station
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