Farm Ireland

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Father and son go head to head

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Family unity will have to take a back seat on Saturday evening when father and son George and Brendan Graham, from Co Wexford, go head to head in the All Ireland Wool Handling championships.

George (56) is aiming for his personal hat-trick, having won the competition in both 2010 and 2011, but he is expecting his own flesh and blood will give him a serious run for his money.

In the international wool handling championships, several strong contenders are already entered, including Jayne Harkness and Caryn Webster, from Northern Ireland, and John Quigley, from Co Tipperary.

However, the favourite to take the international competition is Bronwyn Tango, a Welsh lady with a formidable reputation as a wool handler, proven by her Golden Shears World Wool Handling Championships victory in 2010.

So what exactly is involved in wool handling?

Simply put, the wool handler is the second most important link in the production of saleable fleece.

The wool handler's role is to carry out a range of tasks involved with shearing, from preparing the shed right through to branding wool bales.

For competition purposes, the wool handler gathers the shorn fleece from the shearer and throws it onto a table, before 'skirting' the fleece to remove any inferior wool.

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Next, the fleece is rolled up in a particular way to show off the best wool on the outside of the bundle to the wool classer.

Finally, the table must be cleared of scraps of wool, ready for the next fleece.

It might sound easy but the competitors only have a few seconds per fleece.

Indo Farming