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Beyond the Bale : June 2016
ON FARM 47 It’s just over 12 months since Nicki Guttler completed the two week shearing school through TAFE NSW Riverina Institute’s Primary Industries Centre (PIC) – s ee opposite – and she’s now chalking up 130 ewes on her daily tally. Nicki, who hails from Merino, crossbred lamb and cropping property ‘Arrawatta’ at Lockhart in the NSW, took to the board like a natural and was employed by Temora contractor Trevor Gibbs who operates AAA Shearing after she finished the shearing school. She worked as a wool handler with the team for seven months and when a position become available Trevor gave her a start on a stand. Five months on and Nicki can shear about 100 Merino ewes a day or 130 crossbred ewes a day. “I feel pretty exhausted after a day of shearing, but it’s such a good exhaustion,” she said. Nicki’s aware she’s a bit of a novelty when she takes to the stand at a new shed. “I always feel eyes on me, everyone is always watching, but the woolgrowers are always encouraging me and come and shake my hand and tell me I have done a good job.” Nicki’s yet to shear alongside another female (with the exception of competitions), but it doesn’t worry her. “I always get treated very well, I almost get treated like a bloke, we all laugh, joke and muck around,” she said. In fact it was Nicki’s mother Helen who first taught Nicki some basics of shearing and encouraged her to learn the trade. Earlier this year Nicki was pitted against her mother in a shearing competition at Nicki’s former secondary school, Yanco Agricultural High School. Much to her delight Nicki beat her mother in the intermediate level competition. Nicki also competed in the novice shearing at Yass Show this year where she placed second in a field of eight. Shearing has been a major change of pace for Nicki, who was working as an in-home carer prior to attending the shearing school, however she plans to stay with the trade as long as possible and said there was no shortage of work. Whilst sowing was under way in the Riverina, she had picked up work with teams at Gilgandra and on the Monaro. Nicki’s currently on a six-week holiday in the United States and is scoping out shearing opportunities in the country for next year. “I would like to shear overseas next year in the US or England and Ireland,” she said. “There are always new styles to learn and ways to improve shearing Merinos and crossbreds in Australia. It will be another challenge to learn to shear overseas as the sheep are different and will require different styles of shearing.” Nicki shore at the Peter Westblade Memorial Challenge at Wagga Wagga in March and was given further advice and training from AWI shearer trainers. Nicki also uses her skills to encourage other wool handlers to try shearing. “I have recommended the shearing school to other wool handlers and classers I work with. I pass on my knowledge so they can have a practice on the stand before they attend the school.” Nicki is keen to obtain wool classing qualifications in the future. SHEARER TRAINING SHOWS RESULTS Nicki Guttler from Lockhart in NSW received her training from Bill Kimber and Rob Harris last year (see opposite page). After working as a wool handler Nicki, has now progressed to be part of a regular shearing team. Young shearer Nicki Guttler from Lockhart in the Riverina Region of NSW has benefited from training at a shearing school.
In the Shops - September 2016