Monday, February 26, 2024

Silcock powers through another shearing record

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Summer is heading for a reshaping of all four women’s solo strongwool shearing records.
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Farmer-turned-shearer Amy Silcock smashed a world record near Pahiatua on January 7, though the elation was dimmed by the couple that got way.

Shearing under the watch of four World Sheep Shearing Record Society judges, the 37-year-old claimed the women’s solo eight-hours strongwool ewe-shearing record with a tally of 386 at Ross Na Clonagh Farm, just off the Pahiatua track –  where the temperature in the four-stand woolshed soared to about 32degC late in the afternoon.

But the tally could have been 388 had the judges not rejected two of those shorn in the last of the four two-hour runs.

The record bid started at 7am and Silcock passed the previous record of 370 half an hour before the last of the sheep was popped through the porthole just after 5pm.

Keeping just ahead of the required pace from the start, she caught, sheared and dispatched close to 25 tonnes of sheep and added about 1.35t of wool to the national fleece – the first three runs without blemish.

With 95 and 97 in the two runs before lunch and a gut-busting 101 in the first two hours after what was a light graze, Silcock still got 93 in the final two hours.

“I’m disappointed I lost two in the last run,” she said. 

“I’m glad I got that third run [the 101], but it buggered me. I’ve got nothing left.”

The previous holder of the record, Kent farmer Marie Prebble, had runs of 94, 93, 93, and 90 when she established it in the United Kinghom in August 2022. 

Now the holder of two records – having first appeared on the records scene in a women’s four-stand lambshearing tally – Silcock did have enough in her afterwards to say she’s got more to come.

“I’d like to do a two-stand,” she said. “Just got to find the right person and the right sheep.”

There had been a scare with rain and a drop in temperature on Saturday, when a shear of 10 of the flock produced an average 3.478kg a ewe, safely above the minimum requirement of 3kg.

It proved ideal on the day, but how long she will be the holder depends on the first challenge, on Wednesday, when the record will be tackled by well-performed competition shearer Catherine Mullooly at Nukuhakari Station, 780 Te Marama Road, Waikawau, on the North Taranaki coast west of Te Kuiti.

Also at Ross Na Clonagh was Scottish shearer Una Cameron, who gave Silcock her first shearing job in the UK, and who is also planning a ewes record bid in the UK in August – “but not sure which one”.

Judging panel convener Mike Henderson, a New Zealander based in West Australia for many years and living at Dongara, north of Perth, described Silcock’s achievement as “a gutsy effort”, with a good support crew, including farmers Matt and Sarah Walker.

This summer is now heading for a reshaping of all four women’s solo strongwool records, with both the eight-hours and nine-hours lambshearing records having been smashed before Christmas, and an attack on the nine-hours ewes record scheduled for February.

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