Winter shearing has payoffs

Last updated 11:19 17/06/2013
JUST THE SIDES, TA: Brad Bell warms to winter shearing at the Worsfold farm near Kiwitea.

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Sheep might want their wool on their backs for the cold winter months, but farmers say they shear in winter to get heavier lambs and better wool.

However, many urban people see shorn sheep in the winter and are sure they must be feeling the cold.

Shearers have been working at David and Helen Worsfold's farm near Kiwitea, in Manawatu. He said 700 of his ewes were being shorn with a "cover comb".

"It has fewer teeth in the shearing comb and leaves about 3 millimetres of wool on the sheep. If it gets cold, we let the sheep out to eat, and then bring them back into the shearing shed."

Worsfold shears three times in two years, and shears only half his ewes at any one time. He believes he gets better wool than he would shearing annually.

"If the weather forecast is for cold weather, we might not shear for a week to try to avoid it."

Lambs can be born up to a kilogram heavier to shorn ewes, which means more twins and triplets can survive, veterinarians say.

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- Manawatu Standard

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