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HomeFarming NewsWhitehead shears 661 sheep in less than 9 hours
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Whitehead shears 661 sheep in less than 9 hours

Megan Whitehead has set a new solo women’s nine-hour lamb shearing record, clipping 661 sheep.

The 24-year-old began her attempt at 5am yesterday morning (Wednesday, January 13th) at the Grant Brothers’ Gore woolshed.

She managed to shear 153 in her first run, 132 in her second, 126 in her third and 125 in both her fourth and final run, with just under 10 minutes to go to knock-off at 5pm.

Whitehead, who already holds one world record, handled lambs, weighing 34-36kgs each, in a rate of just 49 seconds.

Megan Whitehead, sheep, sheep shearing, sheep shearer
Megan Whitehead Shearing Attempt / Facebook
Megan Whitehead

Five World Sheep Shearing Records Society judges watched her world record attempt.

Waikato shearer, Emily Welch, set the previous record of 648 back in November 2007.

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In a statement, Shearing Sports New Zealand highlighted that temperatures rose close to 30 degrees Celsius in the day.

The 24-year-old had a “huge” support crew, headed by her father, Quentin Whitehead, who monitored the clock closely throughout.

Welch and fellow female shearing legend Jills Angus Burney, who established the record with 541 in 1989, were both among the hundreds who urged the new star on during the day.

World shearing great, Sir David Fagan, who watched live-streaming at his home in Te Kuiti.

“Reaching for the superlatives, Sir David said the lambs weren’t small and it was a superb effort for Team Whitehead, with the lady on the board at a young age with the shearing World at her feet.”

“The judge, Mark Baldwin, watching from his bus company office in Tocumwal, NSW, was one of four judges appointed by the World Shearing Records Society to ensure the quality of the shear and that all rules were adhered to, including an average of over 0.9kg of wool per lamb as assessed when a sample of 20 lambs produced 21kg on Wednesday.”

Former national circuit champion, 2017 World teams champion, multiple New Zealand team member and fellow Southland shearer, Nathan Stratford, took care of the shearing gear.

“The record could have been higher, but for judging rejection of at least three lambs during the day, although the quality generally was reported to be of a high standard.”

“It was the second women’s solo lambs record in just over 13 months, with Canadian shearer Pauline Bolay having shorn 510 in eight hours in a day masterminded by now shearing contractor Welch in December 2019.”

“The men’s nine hours strongwool record is 867, set by Irish shearer Ivan Scott in England in mid-2016, breaking by one a record held by Hawke’s Bay shearer Dion King for about nine years.”

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