Issue 02 Autumn/Winter 2019
Latest news for
Golden Shears Q&A with Focus on...
Round Up Steve Bradley County Down
PAGE 04 PAGE 05 PAGE 08
Together we’re growing something special.
Welcome to the second new buyer who is purchasing for the Chinese BRENDAN KELLY
edition of our producer market. This is really encouraging after many CHAIRMAN
newsletter ‘Graze’. years of buyers disappearing.
Looking forward, I believe that a completely
This issue includes updates on all the work Secondly, as explained in the last edition of natural and biodegradable fibre like wool
we’re doing to improve returns to you, including ‘Graze’, we are continuing to search for new should have a far greater use as we battle
our new product launch in China and our opportunities in China. China is the largest the manufacture of synthetic products and
#ChampionWool campaign. processor of wool in the world and also has the resultant pollution caused throughout the
the fastest growing middle class who already world. I believe there are two types of plastic
The 2019 selling season started in July with purchase wool products in very significant pollution, firstly the visual one that we all
the US-China trade war and the uncertainty quantities. As well as implementing our new observe with floating debris all over our seas
around Brexit continuing to have an effect on brand licensee scheme, we are looking for and oceans. Secondly there is the unseen
the demand and prices. Despite this, I believe new product opportunities to help increase pollution caused by washing of synthetic
we have performed relatively well over the last the value of our wool. You can read more products and the non-biodegradable nature
12 months to maintain average prices at similar about our work in China on page 03. of these products in landfill. We cannot fight
levels to last year. In comparison to the prices this battle on our own and need more support
seen in New Zealand, our prices have been Ulster Wool continues to support the shearing from government as well as continuing to
consistently higher after many years of being sector through the training programme we work alongside organisations like IWTO and
discounted by up to 20%. provide which saw an increase in those attending the Campaign for Wool to promote wool as a
courses in 2019. The quality and quantity of natural environmentally sustaining alternative
I believe this is due to several strategic initiatives shearers we have is something we can all be to plastic products.
within the business. Firstly in July 2018, we very proud of and we should not underestimate
launched an agency buyer service to make it the valuable contribution training provides in
easier for new buyers to access the auction. supporting our shearers. I would also like to take
This has led to more competition within the this opportunity to congratulate the Northern
auction room, and we have also welcomed a Ireland team on their success at the Shearing
and Wool Handling World Championships in
France during July. You can read more about
this on page 04.
ISSUE 02 FEATURE STORIES
PAGE 03 PAGE 04 PAGE 05 PAGE 07 PAGE 08
NEW WOOL BEDDING GOLDEN SHEARS OPERATION ULSTER WOOL FOCUS ON…
RANGE LAUNCHED ROUND UP ULSTER WOOL
IN CHINA COUNTY MEMBERS COUNTY DOWN
Feature Issue 02 Autumn/Winter 2019
New wool bedding #ChampionWool
We continue to make progress Graham commented: Throughout the 2019 shearing season,
in China and recently launched we have seen great achievements and
a new wool bedding range at “This is our first new product project to success from UK shearers. The World
a prestigious event in central come to market through our Shanghai Championships in France in July saw
Shanghai with Lovo, one of Office. Lovo is an excellent partner Wales take home Champion titles in
the largest manufacturers and with direct access to Chinese consumers the Individual Machine Shearing and
retailers of bedding in China. through their various on-line selling Wool Handling and Scotland took
channels. Initial sales feedback from home the Team Machine Shearing
Lovo is an internet only retailer, selling products Lovo has been extremely positive, Champion title.
on-line through many different channels. As part which bodes well for future sales
of the project, we provided a marketing support and growth.” There has never been a more important time to
package including video content and packaging #ChampionWool whether that be for animal
designs, which ensures the new product range To help support this type of product development welfare reasons, to use more sustainable wool
has an authentically feel. activity and increase consumer awareness in China, products or simply for the versatility of the fibre
a new Chinese website was recently launched as and the products it is used in.
The launch event was attended by Joe Farren, well as social media channels on the two main
Ulster Wool CEO, and Graham Clark, Director platforms in China – WeChat and Weibo. We have been supported by well-known industry
of Marketing. Speaking about the launch, personalities and experts, TV stars, farmers, shearers,
manufacturers and retailers of wool products to
create a series of videos to #ChampionWool from
every aspect. The videos have been used across
our social media channels to help explain shearing
and animal welfare, as well as the environmental
benefits of wool. Wool can often be portrayed in
a negative light and this aims to combat some
misleading and inaccurate stories and reports.
The videos help give consumers a better insight into
Golden Shears round up
Pictured above: Rachel Murphy, Northern Ireland Team Wool Handler, Pictured above: Sam McConnell, Northern Ireland Team Blade Shearer,
Wool Handling at Balmoral Show 2019. Shearing at Balmoral Show 2019.
For the first time in its 40 year history, the world championships were held in France
from 4th - 7th July 2019 in the village of Le Dorat, the Haute-Vienne region, home to
the largest flocks of sheep and the birthplace of the Limousin cattle.
Three hundred athletes from 34 countries competed Golden Shearers World Championships will be Individual Machine Shearing Results
with a following of 62,000 fans over the four day held in conjunction with the Royal Highland Show
event. The days were long starting at 6am with in 2022 in which our very own County Antrim 1. RICHARD JONES (WALES)
enduring 12 hour days, everyone struggled to producer, Robert Harkness was elected at the World 2. Roland Smith (New Zealand)
operate in the 39°C of the day and sweltering Council as the official liaison officer for the event. 3. Cam Ferguson (New Zealand)
30°C of the night. 4. Ivan Scott (Republic of Ireland)
The Northern Ireland Team had an outstanding 5. Calum Shaw (Scotland)
Throughout the championships there were many performance, for such a small country, the team 6. Jack Robinson (Northern Ireland)
meetings for Golden Shears World Council delegates members have certainly left their mark in the world
in which current and future world championships rankings. Jack Robinson from Claudy made the Team Machine Shearing Results
are discussed and preparations made. The next individual machine shearing final, finishing 6th
place, Jayne Harkness-Bones made the individual 1. SCOTLAND
wool handling semi-finals finishing 8th place and 2. Wales
the machine shearing team also made the final, 3. New Zealand
finishing 6th place. Other team members just 4. England
missed out on semi-final places including Ian 5. France
Montgomery for machine, Sam McConnell and 6. Northern Ireland
William Jones for blades and Rachel Murphy for
the wool handling. The highlight of the event was Individual Wool Handling Results
the crowning of the individual machine and wool
handling champions being from the home nation 1. ALED JONES (WALES)
of Wales. 2. Rosie Keenan (Scotland)
3. Pagan Karauria (New Zealand)
Congratulations must of course go to the hosts, France 4. Sheree Albaster (New Zealand)
who certainly put on a show for all to remember.
Team Wool Handling Results
1. NEW ZEALAND
Q&A Issue 02 Autumn/Winter 2019
Steve Bradley, Operations Director explains
the long term goals for the Ulster Wool network.
UW: What is the role of the Operations Team at UW: What sort of things are you looking at to Beef and Lamb
Ulster Wool? make things more convenient for producers? Championships
SB: We continue to look at the location and spread
SB: The role of the team within the Depot is to of the collection network to ensure we are offering We were proud to support
offer Ulster Wool producers an efficient and quality the most convenient option to producers. the Royal Ulster Premier Beef
service for processing their wool in preparation for We have recently trialled pre-printed wool sheet and Lamb Championships in
it to be sold at auction. labels, not only to save time for producers but also partnership with Bank of Ireland.
at the depot to make it easier to identify individual We sponsored two class at
The operations team manage the network of producers wool delivery. the prestigious event and our
hauliers, collection sites, intermediate depots and The sealing of the wool sheets with string is a Chairman, Brendan Kelly was
the grading depot to get the wool in from farm, time consuming factor for producers, therefore appointed as one of the judges.
ready to be graded. It is vital to get wool graded in we have been working with suppliers to develop
a timely manner so that there is a good variety of a simple fastening to replace this system. The number of entries were encouraging,
wool for each auction to meet industry demands. This year, we have annualised the hours at the considering this was only the second year for
grading depot to be open longer in the peak the championships. Young Jaden McCutcheon
Once graded, the wool is packed into 360kg season, which has enabled us to increase our from Trillick (pictured above) took the top spot
bales and commercially viable lots are created daily intake capacities. in the Under 12 section in the young handlers.
for the auction. After the wool is sold at auction, We have managed to create a successful depot
it is dispatched from the grading depot to team whose aim is to support the requirements 05
customers worldwide. of our producers, whilst continuing to strive for
high quality standards and low operating costs.
UW: What is the biggest challenge for the team It is important that we sustain these key objectives.
and how do you overcome these challenges?
STEVE BRADLEY, OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
SB: The variability of season year on year can have
an effect on the network intake capacity at peak
times during the season.
A recent trial of an electronic booking system has
proven successful in ensuring that we allocate time
for deliveries, avoid delays at the depot and utilise
intake capacities effectively each day.
UW: As Operations Director, you make a lot
of key decisions that affect the network, what do
you need to consider when making these decisions?
SB: When I started the depot operations improvement
programme, the main objective was cost saving,
that is still true today. I also ensure I consider
convenience to producers, impacts on the network
and how the changes will affect the people responsible
for implementing them. It is also important to ensure
that quality standards of grading remain high and
are not compromised by changes made throughout
Feature Supporting the future
of the sheep industry
Shear through young people
Many readers will be familiar with the
This year our shearing and wool handling training work of the National Sheep Association
team provided a total of seven different courses (NSA). Whether this is acting as a voice
across the country to over 60 participants. for the UK sheep sector with its tireless
lobbying work or running activities and
Within the Ulster Wool training programme, we new competition at Balmoral Show for this events that are frequently held to keep
also offered subsidised training for members of specific class, which was won by Grace Smyth its members enthusiastic, knowledgeable
the Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster. A large number of Lisnamurrican YFCU, congratulations! and aspiring to best practice.
of Young Farmers took advantage of the opportunity
to go on a course that cost half the price. With the combined efforts of Ulster Wool shearing But another key area of NSA’s work is its NSA
instructors, the standards of shearing training is Next Generation programme, something that
For the first time, we also offered a Young Farmers at its highest in Northern Ireland, with a record Ulster Wool has too been a great supporter of.
Novice Wool Handling Course which had a keen 48 seals awarded in the 2019 season, consisting
interest. This encouraged trainees to take part in a of 38 Blue, 9 Bronze and 1 Gold. NSA Next Generation is a programme that is
dedicated to encouraging and supporting the
sheep farmers and service providers of the future.
Through offering young people interested in the
sheep industry opportunities to join ambassador
schemes to helping them in securing work placements
and employment NSA Next Generation is helping
the young shepherds of the future look forward
positively and enthusiastically to a career in a
sector that is crucial to UK livestock production.
This summer has been another busy time for
NSA Next Generation with the launch of a series
of two-day residential workshops adding to the
extensive offering of activities the programme
delivers. Attracting young shepherds from across
the UK the workshops provided an interesting
combination of informative interactive sessions
and motivating farm tours. These successful
events will now become a regular feature of the
Next Generation schedule, joining the increasingly
popular NSA Next Generation ambassador programme
as well as shepherd of the year competitions, travel
bursary awards, winter conferences and more.
And as further evidence of the organisation’s
commitment to the younger generation NSA offers
half price membership to those aged 27 and under.
For more information on NSA membership or
upcoming NSA and NSA Next Generation events
please visit www.nationalsheep.org.uk or
contact [email protected]
Issue 02 Autumn/Winter 2019
New county members announced
following recent Ulster Wool elections
Ulster Wool is a Farmers cooperative, therefore we have a producer representative in
every county across Northern Ireland and the representatives make up the committee
for Ulster Wool. Every three years, an election is held, enabling Ulster Wool registered
producers to vote on who they would like to represent their county.
Following on from the recent elections Alwyn McFarlane Fionan Butler
which took place in County Londonderry
and County Antrim, we would like to Pictured below (centre) Pictured below (right)
welcome two new County Members
who will start their three year term of Alwyn farms in Dungiven with his wife Joanne, son Fionan works for a sheep farmer near Dunloy as
office on 1st January 2020; John and daughter Charlotte, where Alwyn has lived well as being a shearing contractor in his local area.
all his life on the family farm. They run 1,000 Mule Fionan has already been involved on the regional
Alwyn McFarlane, ewes and 500 Scottish Blackface, keeping their own committee for the past two years as a co-opted
County Londonderry replacements, with the remainder sold as breeding member and is pleased to be able to be on board
stock or as finished lambs. Alwyn is also heavily as the County Antrim representative.
Fionan Butler, involved in the local community, supporting his
County Antrim local agricultural show and Young Farmers Club.
Visit our website to check who
is representing your county at
Profiles Issue 02 Autumn/Winter 2019
Focus on… County Down
At the end of the 2018 season Everyone at the Depot would like to thank Bobby
we had the news that Robert and Maisie for their service to wool producers in
(Bobby) and Maisie Magowan County Down and wish them a happy, relaxing
were retiring as a long-serving retirement and extend a warm welcome to them
collection site for County Down. any time they are passing by the Depot.
We are very thankful to Bobby
and Maisie who have dedicated Their collection service had been taken over by:
a lifetime of service collecting
wool for the farmers of Co Down Brian Hughes
for over 40 years. 66 Rathfriland Road,
Ulster Wool Follow us facebook.com/UlsterWool
Tel: 028 9446 2131 Email: [email protected]