Play Misty Hills again

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Bob GarnantThe West Australian
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Uplifting was the word used by judges of the IGA Perth Royal Show to describe this year's supreme fleece, exhibited by the Meaton family, of Misty Hills stud, Kojonup.

Shorn from a two-year-old Merino ewe, the 4.6-kilogram ultrafine 16.3-micron fleece, with a 74.6 per cent yield, fell into the category most favoured by Italian fashion houses.

Chief judge Tim Chapman said the 94 out of 100 point fleece had a high tensile strength, ideal for Italian suiting.

"It carried excellent character and style evenly throughout," he said.

"The fleece was very white and bright and extremely soft to handle."

Russell and Heather Meaton said they were thrilled with the win.

"It has been five years since we have been awarded a supreme fleece ribbon at the Royal Show," Mrs Meaton said.

"The ewe, from which the fleece was shorn, was sired by Alfoxton President through artificial insemination, is doing well (pregnant) on the farm and we will bring her twin sister to exhibit at the show with our team of four.

"We just sold a bale of 15-micron wool for 1140 cents/kg greasy through Wooltrade this week - it's good to see the interest in ultrafine wool picking up."

The Meatons established their superfine stud in 1990 to capture the lucrative fibre market when Italian tailoring was at its best.

A lot has happened since, such as the global financial crisis, which many industry experts claim caused a setback in superfine wool prices.

But Italian tailoring is well and truly back on the radar, according to Slowear, a group of major Italian brand companies.

The brands have been focusing on producing classic and versatile menswear that has been designed to transcend seasons and trends.

Mr Chapman said this year's Royal Show fleece entries were similar in quality to those displayed last year.

"Most were of high quality as far as their style, although seasonal conditions affected many fleeces as far as strength goes," he said. "Entries were very competitive in points, with the best only a few points lower than the top-point winners."

Mr Chapman said the wool market had remained stable in the past few weeks, with several slight improvements. "Traditionally, there should be a steady improvement into the October and November period, when China and European countries are most active on their buying orders," he said.

The fleece was very white and bright and extremely soft to handle. Chief judge Tim Chapman

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