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Quest for the Golden Fleece is launched.

WOOL producers are being invited to enter their fleeces for a chance to win a Golden Fleece award.

Last year's winning Bluefaced Leicester fleece - exhibited by Jayne and Myrfyn Roberts from Gaerwen, Anglesey - was described as "a shining example of the breed, exhibiting excellent wool properties".

The competition, initiated by British Wool in association with JG Animal Health, is intended to showcase British wool's high quality and highlight the difference that fleece presentation can makes in terms of increasing the value of producers' wool.

Ms Roberts said: "We, as sheep producers, have a product that has many different assets, be it producing future breeding animals or producing milk, cheese and meat for the food industry. From all these we produce a wonderful by-product - wool."

She said that the competition was "great fun and an interesting learning curve on the journey of our wool from farm to auction".

The winners visited the British Wool depot in Bradford and were given a guided tour.

Ms Roberts said: "It is clear to see how passionate the team are about their product and in obtaining the best price for our wool. Through the competition we were delighted to be able to enhance the profile of British wool, especially the Bluefaced Leicester breed."

Producers can enter through the network of 11 grading depots up to the end of October, while qualifying fleece competitions have been held at 14 agricultural shows across the UK during the summer months.

Country competitions follow, with winning fleeces from these rounds being automatically entered into the final, which will be judged this year by British Wool sales manager Stephen Spencer at the British Wool annual conference in Exeter on November 8. The winner will receive a competition salver as well as PS500 prize money and reserve champion will receive PS250.

Jonathan Guy, managing director of JG Animal Health said: "This is a very exciting and important competition for the industry that we are delighted to be involved with, and we are expecting strong entries throughout the qualifying rounds."

With the show season coming to a close, British Wool is keen to encourage producers to enter their fleeces through their local grading depot by October 31.

Producers can enter two fleeces which must be packaged separately to the rest of the wool clip and accompanied by a completed entry form. All individuals involved in the chain, from intermediate depots and collection points to on-farm collections, are making allowances for separately packed fleeces.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 12, 2017
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