Coolawarra is a cut above

Coolawarra is a cut above the rest


Farming Small Areas News
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Sydney Royal Supreme Fleece honours go to Southern Highlands alpaca stud.

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Coolawarra & Storybook Alpacas' Rubey Williams and Janie Forrest are presented the Supreme Huacaya Fleece ribbon by Ian Preuss.

Coolawarra & Storybook Alpacas' Rubey Williams and Janie Forrest are presented the Supreme Huacaya Fleece ribbon by Ian Preuss.

Southern Highlands stud, Coolawarra & Storybook Alpacas enjoyed a successful 2019 Sydney Royal Show.

With a contingent in excess of 75 animals at this year's show, Coolawarra was presented the Harriet Davison Trophy for Most Successful Huacaya Overall Exhibitor, Most Successful Huacaya Halter Exhibitor and also won Supreme Fleece.

A serious operation with more than 1200 animals at properties in Mittagong, Bargo and Pheasants Nest, Coolawarra is co-owned and family-run by Mick, Karen and Rubey Williams.

As the global respect for Australian alpaca fleece continues to grow, added emphasis goes into winning Supreme Fleece and Mick Williams believes it is an important part of the future of alpacas.

"We are trying to build an industry," Mr Williams said.

"We want to take the alpaca fleece industry from an emerging market to a developing one.

"Winning the Supreme Fleece award shows that our breeding is heading in the right direction.

"Now we want to get that kind of consistency across the board."

The winning fleece was of Coolawarra's new finishing sire, one of their top sires.

His fleece won at the 2018 Nationals, combining with this year's show win to fill the stud with confidence.

"It is a bit of a gamble to try and back up after a Nationals win," Mr Williams said.

"It gives us a great amount of confidence now - knowing that his second or third fleece is still ahead of everything at Sydney Royal."

Last year Coolawarra added the 8.8 tonne of fibre from their animals to form a co-operative with 50 other breeders called Waratah Alpaca Fibre Co-op.

The co-op has a contract to export fibre to New Zealand, France and India as well as supplying the local market.

"Alpaca fibre is obviously different to Merino or crossbred sheep fibre," Mr Williams said.

"Our fibre goes from Sheer Ultra, less than 16.6 microns, Ultrafine, (16.6 to 18.5 microns) and Superfine (18.6 to 20.5 microns) to Extra Strong (greater than 36.5 microns).

"The Sheer Ultra sells for in excess of $40 a kilo while nothing in the top three classes goes for under $30 a kilo."

Other exhibitor winners included Bumblehill Alpacas (Most Successful Suri Fleece); Surilana (Most Successful Suri Halter and Most Successful Suri Overall); and Precision Group (Most Successful Huacaya Fleece).

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