The British Wool Marketing Board (BWMB), in association with JG Animal Health, is relaunching the prestigious Golden Fleece competition to search for the best fleece in the UK.
The nationwide competition is open to all producers marketing their wool through the BWMB. Champion fleeces from the network of BWMB depots across the UK and from 12 regional agricultural shows will go head to head in the four country finals (England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland) before the national final, explained BWMB Chairman Ian Buchanan.
The Northern Ireland finals will be held at Castlewellan Show and Muckamore depot.
“Producers will receive their entry forms along with the annual price schedule in May and will be eligible to enter a maximum of two fleeces which will be judged in two categories; Traditional Carpet Fleece and Speciality/Knitwear Fleece on a daily basis,” Mr Buchanan said.
All depots will judge fleeces on an ongoing basis throughout the season until the competition closing date in October when every depot will have a Depot Champion Fleece from both categories.
These Depot Champion Fleeces will then be judged in a country competition which will include the Champion Fleece from the eligible shows within each country. The eight winning fleeces from the country competitions, will be sent to Bradford and take pride of place in the national final, said BWMB Chief Operating Officer and national final judge Mark Powell.
“This will be an exciting revival of the Golden Fleece competition which previously ran some years ago. I’m looking forward to seeing some excellent fleeces in the final eight and would urge producers to put their fleeces forward for what promises to be a great showcase of British wool,” added Mr Powell.
“With over 12 million fleeces being presented at BWMB depots every year, it will be a real challenge and achievement producing the winning fleece at a depot, let alone scooping the top award. Producers will need, as ever, to ensure their fleeces are excellently presented giving them the best opportunity of making the final.”
Commenting on the competition Jonathan Guy of JG Animal Health said he was delighted to be working with BWMB to showcase the high quality of British wool.
“British wool is an incredibly versatile fibre which has a great many uses in both the fashion and home furnishings industries. British farmers consistently produce high quality wool which is in demand the world over and what better way to celebrate that than this novel nationwide competition.”