Monday 18th June was Shearing Day at MyFarm. It was busy.
Preparations for shearing day started weeks ago with Stockman Mark and the team getting more than 400 ewes and fattening lambs (lambs literally being fattened up for meat) ready for shearing. This means foot trim and dagging them ready to shear and, importantly, getting them all undercover to keep them dry the night before. Dry sheep are much, much easier to sheer.
The shearers arrived at around 7am to set-up for the day. A little over eight hours later they had left with around 430 sheared sheep in their wake:
We worked out they shear about one sheep a minute (0.8 of a sheep to be precise). They’re that fast. The official World Record is a shade over 45 seconds per sheep.
Obviously electric shears are a, comparatively, new invention in farming. Back in the 18th century, when Home Farm was first built, no such technology existed.
MyFarm’s multi-talented Forester, Simon, showed us how sheep would have been sheared traditionally:
As you’ll see, Simon doesn’t hang around but even with his skill it takes him around 18 minutes to shear one animal. With electric shears the Kiwi shearers would be well on the way to finishing their 15th sheep in the same time-frame.
It’s worth noting though that hand shearing isn’t just consigned to the history books, lots of sheep are still sheared this way on smaller farms and smallholdings.
So that’s almost all the farm’s sheep sheared in that one day. Almost all as this year’s lambs aren’t sheared. Mark has also left 12 rams with their fleeces on too for a hand shearing demonstration at the weekend 23/24th June.
As Mark explained in the video (above) most of the wool goes to the Wool Board but it’s far from lucrative. The money made from the wool will, hopefully, just about cover the cost of the shearing.