Fed Up With TV Then Watch A World Record In Sheep Shearing In The Making

Today Megan Whitehead an extremely fit and very good sheep shearer is attempting to set a new Women's lamb shearing record in Southland New Zealand.

She only did her first hundred 4 years ago and shore in Kent and Sussex back in 2019 where she had no trouble doing over 400 a day on our Romneys.
In her first 2 hour run she did 153 so is well on target to beat the previous record of 640 in 9 hours set some 17 years ago. She is a real picture to watch and it is like poetry in motion with some fantastic lambs.

It is on Shedtalk and on New Zealand shearing sports.
 
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Image may contain: 1 person, standing and close-up, text that says Shear 2 Pink

Shearing Sports New Zealand

Women’s shearing record shattered
A sprightly Southland shearer has today smashed a women’s world record by clipping 661 lambs in nine hours in a woolshed near Gore.
Tipping the scales at just 60kg, standing just 1.7m tall and shearing and despatching the average 34-36kg lambs at an average of just 49 seconds each, 24-year-old Megan Whitehead was chasing the previous record of 648 set in 2007 by Waikato shearer Emily Welch.
Welch and fellow female shearing legend Jills Angus Burney, who established the record with 541 in 1989, were both among the hundreds who urged the new star on during the day, in temperatures rising close to 30deg late in the day but perhaps the highest accolades came from one who wasn’t - World shearing great Sir David Fagan, who watched live-streaming at his home in Te Kuiti.
Reaching for the superlatives, Sir David said the lambs weren’t small and it was a superb effort for Team Whitehead, with the lady on the board at a young age with the shearing World at her feet.
Sir David Fagan was the first male to shear over 700 lambs in an official World Shearing Records Society nine-hour record under modern rules i- when he shore 748 in 1985 and adding over 100 to a previous men’s record of 626 - and predicts Whitehead will one-day be the first woman to shear more than 700.
Speaking from Te Kuiti mid-afternoon, with a new record imminent, Sir David said: “She’s going to break it. And if anyone’s going to break it again, it’ll be her.”
Having exposed her potential when shearing 608 during a four-stand women’s record in January last year, Whitehead was today ahead of the required pace of at least 72 an hour from the start, shearing 153 in the first two hours from 5am to breakfast – already nine ahead of the 144 with which Welch opened her big day 13 years ago.
She then backed-it up with successive 1hr 45min runs of 132, 126, 125 and 125, hitting the goal amid rapturous applause with just under 10 minutes to go to knock-off at 5pm.
Welch had shorn runs of 144, 125, 123, 127 and 129 when she did her record, while in her record 31 years ago Angus Burney shore runs of 128, 105, 105, 103 and 100, and remembers thinking that with the wave of women starting to working and competing as shearers a tally over 700 would not be beyond reach.
There was a huge support crew, headed by father Quentin Whitehead who monitored the clock closely throughout as his daughter worked alone on the Grant Brother’s shearing board at Croydon Bush, just north of Gore.
Former national circuit champion, 2017 World teams champion, multiple New Zealand team member and fellow Southland shearer Nathan Stratford took care of the shearing gear.
Despite attending almost every record attempt since her own successes, Angus Burney, now a barrister, was in awe as much of the shearing as with the attention to strategic detail, including the breeding of a line of Snowline over Romney and planning through the Covid-19 dilemma to enable the required overseas judge to be able to adjudicate via an AVL feed.
The judge, Mark Baldwin, watching from his bus company office in Tocumwal, NSW, was one of four judges appointed by the World Shearing Records Society to ensure the quality of the shear and that all rules were adhered to, including an average of over 0.9kg of wool per lamb as assessed when a sample of 20 lambs produced 21kg on Wednesday.
While the athleticism of Whitehead impressed and amazed throughout, it was not all plain-sailing. The record could have been higher, but for judging rejection of at least three lambs during the day, although the quality generally was reported to be of a high standard.
Quentin Whitehead, who like record-breaker’s mother Tina McColl was a shearer, estimated 70 people were in the crew, both in the woolshed and other roles. It also took substantial sponsorship and a big financial input, starting with a fee of $US2500 to the records society.
It was the second women’s solo lambs record in just over 13 months, with Canadian shearer Pauline Bolay having shorn 510 in eight hours in a day masterminded by now shearing contractor Welch in December 2019.
The men’s nine hours strongwool record is 867, set by Irish shearer Ivan Scott in England in mid-2016, breaking by one a record held by Hawke’s Bay shearer Dion King for about nine years.
 
Can anyone tell me what a "Snowline over Romney" is and how it is bred? They were certainly a fantastic run of lambs.

The Grant family has been farming Romneys on the rugged Hokonui Hills near Gore in NZ's Southland province for many decades. Their farm is large, steep, much south (cold) facing and difficult/undeveloped in places. In recent years the Snowline composite has been introduced.
Snowline sheep are a composite breed bred by the McDonald family, based in Central Otago and North Canterbury, that has been developed from a base of Texel x Romney sheep with some Perendale inputs. The breeding goals are to have a maternal flock capable of maintaining high levels of production in very challenging environments. Extensive use of modern performance recording using modern tools assists these aims in an environment of very low input and nil shepherding at lambing. Snowline sheep, although based on coarse wool breeds have now achieved much finer wool (mid micron) compared to their progenitors Romney,Texel and Perendale, therefore achieving higher prices per kilo.

Having watched the live feed during the day I was impressed with the wool coming off these lambs. It was bulky, stylish and great colour for the environment which I know so well having previously farmed near there for 25 years. I appreciate that these lambs were sorted for good combing for the record attempt, but what went over the shearing board looked to have very even fleeces of a single type. A credit to both the Grants and the McDonalds.

What a mighty effort Megan put in.......just amazing.
 
The Grant family has been farming Romneys on the rugged Hokonui Hills near Gore in NZ's Southland province for many decades. Their farm is large, steep, much south (cold) facing and difficult/undeveloped in places. In recent years the Snowline composite has been introduced.
Snowline sheep are a composite breed bred by the McDonald family, based in Central Otago and North Canterbury, that has been developed from a base of Texel x Romney sheep with some Perendale inputs. The breeding goals are to have a maternal flock capable of maintaining high levels of production in very challenging environments. Extensive use of modern performance recording using modern tools assists these aims in an environment of very low input and nil shepherding at lambing. Snowline sheep, although based on coarse wool breeds have now achieved much finer wool (mid micron) compared to their progenitors Romney,Texel and Perendale, therefore achieving higher prices per kilo.

Having watched the live feed during the day I was impressed with the wool coming off these lambs. It was bulky, stylish and great colour for the environment which I know so well having previously farmed near there for 25 years. I appreciate that these lambs were sorted for good combing for the record attempt, but what went over the shearing board looked to have very even fleeces of a single type. A credit to both the Grants and the McDonalds.

What a mighty effort Megan put in.......just amazing.
I had worked out the Perendale connection but not the Texel.
They were some fantastic lambs and it is interesting that we have gone down a similar but more difficult route. We used the Romney 2000 which were a Texel x Romney and then more recently (12 years) have used the best Waiere for prolificacy and weaning weights which have had a dramatic effect. Fortunately our base Romney's had a better conformation than the Waiere.

I remember Hokonui from the 1970's when I worked there for the Anderson family. I lived with Basil and spent a lot of time dipping and drafting lambs there. Is the Grant's operation some of this land?
 
I arrived in Southland in 1984 and the Anderson family doesn't register with me.
The farm on which the record was broken is Peter Grant's farm at Croydon (the Gore end of the Hokonui Hills). Peter's boys now farm this and a couple of huge blocks at the other (Otapiri) end of the Hokonuis too. Peter is in his early/mid seventies.
The Croydon block backs towards Glen Isla Station which faces out over the Mataura Valley of Northern Southland, the drier and warmer side.
Well done Frank for posting the thread.
 
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