After leading the Northern Ireland team to fourth place and taking sixth individual place in the World Shearing Championships in New Zealand last year, Jack Robinson from Claudy continued his winning form at the RUAS/Zoetis National Sheep Shearing Championships at Balmoral Show taking the championship title for the fourth time in succession.
It was a nail biting finish as the top three times in the competition were; 11.44 minutes for Tom Perry from Strabane, 11.59 minutes for Ian Montgomery from Glenwherry and 12.03 for Jack Robinson.
However when the judges added their points for second cuts which devalues the wool clip and wool ridges remaining on the sheep plus shearing technique and sheep safety then Jack Robinson was the outright winner taking the shearing championship and the best board and best pen.
Jack will captain the NI team at the Six Nations Shearing Championships later this year. The team will include second placed Ian Montgomery from Glenwherry and third placed Tom Perry from Strabane.
Fourth place at the Zoetis/RUAS National Shearing Championships was taken by Robert Davidson from Gleno with Jason McNeice from Markethill in fifth place and Sean Kerlin from Claudy in 6th place.
Jack has been competing in shearing competitions since he was 17 years old and has spent many spells in New Zealand shearing commercially and entering competitions.
The highlight of this was working with Roland Smith, a previous world champion, in the Hawkes Bay area of New Zealand, contract shearing and entering shows.
Jack commented: “I regard Roland Smith as the best shearer in the world. I am looking forward to his proposed visit to the UK to attempt to break the world shearing record in the Northern Hemisphere. He will attempt this at his brother, Matt Smith’s farm in Cornwall. Matt farms 1000 sheep in the Kiwi system along with a 450 deer herd.”
Making every effort to keep up with the competition speed was commentator Huw Condron who kept the record audience fully informed of each step of the contest. He pointed out that shearers use the same energy per day as running a marathon, but the marathon runner can rest the next day whereas the shearer expends this energy every day. Champion shearers have been known to shear 731 sheep or 867 lambs in a nine hour day.
Jack Robinson used to spend six months of the year shearing in Europe including Finland, Latvia and Estonia with the other six months spent farming at the home farm in Claudy. However he now has a wife and family of two, so a lot of his time is spent on the sheep and beef farm at home in Claudy.
Raymond Irvine, from the sponsors, Zoetis, congratulated all of the shearers in the final and presented them with their awards. He said that Zoetis was delighted to sponsor such a high profile event which has become so popular that it is a case of “standing room only” at the final.
He pointed out that it is appropriate for a company which promotes sheep health to be associated with the skills and enthusiasm of this event. He referred to the success of CYDECTIN® and STARTECT® Dual Active, pointing out that CYDECTIN 20mg/ml (2%) LA injection for Sheep is a potent worm and scab treatment, while STARTECT is the only licensed product that can provide the benefits of a dual active wormer giving enhanced efficacy against worms resistant to other wormer groups.
Another interesting project which Zoetis is continuing for a second year is the Parasite Watch Scheme. This involves the monitoring of 18 farms across the UK for worm, fluke and fly levels by taking faecal samples every two weeks and monitoring fly traps. This scheme not only warns the farmer involved of possible parasite risks but also alerts farmer in their local area by an interactive map at www.parasitewatch.co.uk. The results and stories from these farms will also be shared on Facebook SheepFarmersUK and Twitter @Sheep_Farmers.