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15 August 2000

Media Release
Rural Media And Daily Farm Pages

Big boys go for quality

One of the largest shearing contractors in the country -- Peter Lyon shearing -- has signaled its commitment to quality by becoming accredited to the Fernmark Quality Programme.

During his quality assessment a fortnight ago, 18 shearers and nine shed hands from his Alexandra-based business converged on Stuart and Robin Stevenson’s Strathview Station in Otago.

While there, the shearing staff also earned their fine wool endorsements, with help from WoolPro shearing services manager Gavin Rowland.

Lyon says accreditation is an important step, given the value and importance of income from fine wool to his clients. Accredited farmers put time and effort producing a quality clip, so they need to know shearing staff are also committed.

“How we do the job in the woolshed has a great effect on how the clip comes out at the other end,” he says.

Lyon employs close to 200 people, and at the peak of the fine wool shearing season, all can be working in fine wool sheds.

He has developed a close working relationship with Merino New Zealand, and sees accreditation as a logical extension of this.

WoolPro FQP audit manager David Long says the farmer, the industry and the world’s perception of New Zealand wool benefits from having accredited shearing shearers and shed hands preparing a clip in an accredited shed.

Quality assured wool accounted for almost 25 per cent of total auction sale offerings in the 1999/2000 season -- around 100,000 bales (or 15,000 tonnes), says Fernmark Quality Programme manager Kelvin Whall.

“FQP wools at auction consistently earn more than non-FQP wools because they have fewer faults. The margins vary during the season, depending on the value the market places on wools not having those faults.

“Our research clearly slows that it pays growers to prepare wool to FQP standards. The extra income greatly outweighs the extra costs involved.”

While it’s possible to prepare wool to FQP standards without belonging to the programme, Whall encourages growers to take the plunge.

“It costs nothing to join and it’s one practical thing growers can do to help the marketing of their fibre,” he says.

Strathview owner Stuart Stevenson says his decision to seek a quality accreditation through Wrightson ‘Woolcare’ was logical given the introduction of Merinos to his property five years ago.

“We want to sell wool and quality assurance is what customers require,” he says.

Although premiums won’t come overnight, he says, accreditation is the first step in establishing the quality chain.

His woolshed was purpose-built to meet quality standards. It’s designed to remain correctly equipped, is kept neat and tidy, and potential contaminants are kept out.

Stevenson’s 220 ha property carries 9100 Romney ewes, 2000 hoggets, 200 cows, 230 rising one- and two-year cattle, 1450 Merino ewes, 500 hoggets and 300 wethers.


For more information, please ring

Kelvin Whall, Tel 03-343 7918


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