A THANK you has been issued to UK shearers for their hard work and determination in shearing the national flock during the pandemic.

With travel restrictions announced at the end of March as the country went into national lockdown, the UK sheep sector had to plan for the shearing season without the usual help from overseas.

But the UK shearing community stepped up to the mark and British Wool worked with industry partners in developing a Shearing Register and a new industry checklist to ensure that shearers, wool handlers and farmers worked in partnership, with practical measures put in place to allow shearing to continue whilst protecting everyone’s safety.

Dumfriesshire sheep farmer and chairman of British Wool, Jim Robertson, said: “On behalf of all sheep farmers and British Wool, I thank our shearers for their hard work and commitment in ensuring a successful and efficient shearing season. Under challenging circumstances, the way in which the shearing community and sheep farmers rose to the challenge is an excellent example of how working together and supporting each other to achieve a common goal benefits everyone.”

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, shearing courses were cancelled this year, but British Wool are hopeful they can resume once again next year. At the request of the industry, British Wool provided online training aids including a downloadable poster ‘First Steps in Shearing’ and a shearing animation which reached over 327,000 people online and across various social media platforms.

Head of producer marketing at British Wool, Gareth Jones, commented: “We are currently working on developing protocols and guidance that will hopefully enable courses to be held during the 2021 season. Ensuring courses are held under Covid-19 guidelines are key in keeping everyone safe which is paramount for us all at British Wool,” he continued. “We hope to be in a position to provide further details on the 2021 courses in January and remain committed in continuing to deliver a high standard of training to the next generation of shearers across the UK.”