An Esperance woolclip was celebrated at the Western Wool Centre after topping the Elders catalogue and defying the downward market with its brilliance. The clip was supplied by Gibson farmer Brett Whiting, who runs 1600 Merino ewes on his family’s 4800ha mostly cropping farm and believes sheep are an essential component to the overall picture. The Whiting family were in Dubbo when their 23-bale consignment of July to August shorn wool was offered in five lots for auction at the Western Wool Centre through Elders. Their four-bale Shepwok Downs-branded consignment of 18.2 micron wool offered as lot 174 topped the Elders catalogue, selling for 1300c/kg greasy. This line recorded a yield of 73.6 per cent and had a staple length of 75mm with a coefficient of fibre variation at 14 per cent plus a strength of 38 Newtons per kilotex. Elders sold four lots of the Shepwok Downs wool, with a five-bale consignment of 17.7 micron finer line passed in at 1307 cents. “I was pleased with the prices, given the uncertainty of the market,” Mr Whiting said. “We have been trying to work around our cropping program to shear every eight months to take advantage of the shorter wool market prices.” The third generation farmer runs Shepwok Downs with his wife Kelly and they also have three young boys. “We are greatly mentored by my parents Michael and Anne, who still live and work on the farm,” Mr Whiting said. A passionate cropper and woolgrower, Mr Whiting is having a great season so far. “The crops are looking exceptional and not under water — we only had 100mm of rain in August instead of the usual 300mm,” he said. “So far this year we recorded 320mm, well below the normal 600mm. “We have been very lucky with the number of good cropping seasons in recent years.” Mr Whiting said while crop values were remaining “better than average”, he was confident once the labour shortage in abattoirs was back to normal, the flow of sheep through the abattoirs would return to pre-COVID numbers. “It has been difficult to book in sheep to the abattoirs,” he said. “With getting our sheep shorn, we have a good young shearing team that looks after us.” Mr Whiting said he selected rams from the Michael family’s Leahcim Poll Merino stud in Snowtown, South Australia for their brilliant white wools — suitable for high rainfall environments. “I have been buying flock rams from Leahcim for five years which have contributed ease of care to my flock,” he said. “We are also selecting for good bodies and fleeces with good crimp and fineness. “Our flock averaged 18.5 micron, but we would like to drop that to 18 while holding fleece weight.” Mr Whiting will be attending the Leahcim ram sale on his way back from Dubbo to select up to six flock rams. “The stud is backed with 40 years of measured Australian Breeding Value figures — this gives me confidence in the data of their sale rams,” he said. Elders wool sales manager Alice Wilsdon said the market had good support for better types. ”Unfortunately, fine wool fleeces fell back this week,” she said. The Australian wool market recorded an overall fall in last week’s series, after two weeks of minimal price movements and an overall unchanged market, according to the Australian Wool Exchange. The Eastern Market Indicator fell 12c to close last week at 1330c/kg clean, while the Western Market Indicator fell 18 cents to close at 1441 cents clean.