Wool from the Traprock
THE busiest time of the year has begun for Traprock sheep graziers Scott and Belinda Jamieson with shearing season having commenced and the timing could not be better.
Mr Jamieson runs between 4500 and 6000 merino sheep on the property west of Stanthorpe and said the shearing season usually lasts about five weeks, depending on the weather and availability of the workers.
"We use merino wethers that are bred in the warmer districts of western Queensland and New South Wales,” he said.
"The wool is pressed into bales and trucked to Brisbane where it is stored at the wool stores until it's sold by auction at a later date.”
Those auctions are sure to create plenty of interest with surging demand from Asia and Europe, particularly China and Italy, pushing prices for Australian wool, particularly merino wool, to record levels.
The price of wool reached an all-time high on Friday of 1681 cents per kilogram, 320 cents per kilogram above the same time last year.
"One of the most satisfying things is to produce a really good clip of wool and be rewarded with a good price for your effort,” Mr Jamieson said.
"Our wool is classed as medium wool and so it's usually bought by Chinese or Italian companies who manufacture it into clothing.”
The property has been in Mr Jamieson's family hands since his parents moved there from the St George district in the early 1960s.
For most months of the year, Mr Jamieson works alone.
"Although my father has always helped where he could, I've taken over the running of the property since he retired about 15 years ago,” he said.
"Throughout most of the year I work alone, with the help of one or two workers when I have a particular job to be completed such as fencing, crutching, spraying etcetera,” he said.
"During the shearing season we have several workers who help with shearing, rouse-abouting classing, and a variety of other jobs.”
While the wool industry is enjoying a resurgence, Mr Jamieson said growers still face numerous challenges.
"Dealing with droughts and unpredictable weather would have to be some of the more difficult challenges that need to be dealt with,” he said.
"Just (Thursday) a heavy hailstorm went through one part of the property.
"We had just finished shearing the day before and the sheep were all out in the paddock.
"The first few days after shearing, sheep are quite vulnerable, and so we were quite worried about how many sheep may have been killed.
"Thankfully we found out they were up at the other end of the paddock that didn't receive any hail when the storm went through, so they were all fine.”