Shearer trainer Glen Stephens has a new respect for rouseabouts after competing for the first time in the senior wool handling competition at Sheepvention.
Mr Stephens, of Heywood, said he entered the competition for a bit of fun but found the pace needed to complete the wool handling in the set time strenuous.
His entry was part of the sibling rivalry he has with his sister, Tara Hadley, of Hamilton, who will soon represent Victoria in the open section in the national wool handling competition in Perth.
“She beats me hands down,” Mr Hadley said.
Mr Stephens said he and his sister had worked together in shearing sheds for 15 years and had always enjoyed competing against each other.
He said women filled most of the wool handler jobs because they were seen as taking more care with the wool than men.
Mr Stephens said he loved the lifestyle of shearing but the casual nature of the work deterred many from pursuing it.
There was a national shortage of shearers and wool handlers because few people wanted to do manual labour any more, he said.
“But the top shearers make well over $100,000 a year,” he said.
Top shearers make well over a $100,000 a year.Glen Stephens
Mr Stephens said shearers were enjoying the good wool prices being paid to farmers because it had given wool producers money to upgrade their shearing sheds.
“It was rough while prices were low but now wool prices are coming into what they should be,” he said.
In other Sheepvention news, the class winners in its Inventions competition were:
Farm machinery and technology – 1, Rod Davidson, Davo’s Fencing Clip.
Animal health and welfare – 1. Will Kinghorn, pet lamb box.
Farm, house and garden – 1. Natalie Tolley.
In the student invention categories the overall winners were Archie & Jacob from Hamilton’s Monivae College for a fencing aid.
Chloe Colquhoun had the Best Innovative Idea for a sheep checker.
Chloe and Will had the Best Working Model or Program for a fox alarm.
In the primary school section, Leidy Kenny won with a butter stick.
AgMesh’s Pete and Anne won the Sheep/Wool Innovation Award for a Smart Trough.
The District Encouragement Award went to Archie Wilder.