Winning fleece scores 99 out of 100

Matakanui Station's  owners and staff enjoyed success recently in the  Royal Agricultural Society of New Zealand's national Golden Fleece competition. From left are station owners Andrew and Tracy Paterson, with workers Nick Bush, Angus Dykes and Gary Milne. Photo by Yvonne O'Hara
Matakanui Station's owners and staff enjoyed success recently in the Royal Agricultural Society of New Zealand's national Golden Fleece competition. From left are station owners Andrew and Tracy Paterson, with workers Nick Bush, Angus Dykes and Gary Milne. Photo by Yvonne O'Hara

Tracy and Andrew Paterson, of Matakanui Station, near Omakau, say their recent success was a team effort.

The sheep and beef farmers won the Royal Agricultural Society of New Zealand's national Golden Fleece competition on May 23, for the second year in a row, with a score of 99 out of 100 points, for their supreme fine-wool fleece - one more point than in their 2013 win.

They also won the national award in 1983 and 1985.

In addition they won the champion quarter-bred or Polwarth fleece and the champion halfbred or Corriedale fleece titles.

Mr Paterson said they and their staff worked hard and as a team on the farm and the top fleeces were a direct result of that.

''There is no way we could have done it without our staff,'' Mr Paterson said.

''They work very hard, with long hours and sometimes not in the greatest conditions, but it is appreciated.

''It does not go unnoticed.''

The couple were delighted with their win.

''The judge said it [the fleece] was almost perfect and he had to look for things to fault it,'' he said.

''All the wool entries there were quite spectacular, but on the day some of it [the judging] was subjective.

''I guess ours was the best on the day.''

The 26-micron halfbred fleece that won the competition, which was hosted by the Otago-Taieri A&P Show, was ''very white'' and from a halfbred ewe, while last year's winning fleece was from a Polwarth ewe.

''Our fleeces are straight out of the paddock, and they are all treated the same.''

Mrs Paterson, who is learning to be a wool classer, said the fleece was kept by the contest organisers and would be shown at other shows throughout New Zealand.

When choosing which fleeces to enter the competitions they usually selected 50 to 60 and then narrowed them down to the ones they felt were winners.

The average clip per sheep is 6kg, with the hoggets producing about 4kg.

The Patersons have a 300-bale contract with SmartWool and a 100-bale contract with Icebreaker, while about 60kg goes to fill a specialist order from Japan, with another 10kg going to fill orders from weavers. They also have a close relationship with Marnie Kelly, of Touch Yarns, Alexandra, who processed all the show fleeces.

The 8700ha Matakanui Station runs 16,000 sheep, including 1000 stud ewes and 1200 beef cattle, or about 21,000 stock units.

They sell 200-300 rams per year and this year artificially inseminated 400 ewes with semen from Australia and North Canterbury.

- yvonne.ohara@alliedpress.co.nz


OTHER RESULTS

Champion merino ram fleece - M Jones Soper, Palmerston
Champion merino ewe fleece - I P and B Stevenson, The Gums, Cheviot
Champion merino hogget fleece - A D and S D Paterson, Armidale, Ranfurly
Champion Perendale Fleece - G Nichol, Clarks Junction
Champion Romney fleece - R Humphrey, Fielding
Champion Crossbred fleece - D A Small, Goulburn, Oturehua
Champion Leicester fleece - J Piri, Invercargill
Supreme strong wool fleece - R Humphrey, Fielding.