National | Farming

Kiwi becomes the first woman to shear more than 700 sheep in a day

A former pupil of Tararua College has smashed a record beyond the scope of any scholastic dreams, by becoming the first woman in the world to shear 700 sheep in a nine-hour day.

Shearing today at Centre Hill, near Mossburn in Southland, Sacha Bond set a world women’s nine-hour strong wool lambs record of 720 – an average of a lamb every 45 seconds, caught, shorn and dispatched.

Starting at 5am, Bond was always 6-7 lambs per hour ahead of the pace needed to break the previous record of 661 shorn by Southland gun Megan Whitehead in January 2021.

Bond breezed back into the record books with about 45 minutes to go and passed the next benchmark of 700 about a quarter-hour before the 5pm finish.

The official tally comprised 162 in the first two hours to breakfast and successive 1hr 45min runs of 142, 137, 137 and 142 around the half-hour breaks for morning and afternoon tea and one hour for lunch.

Highlighting the endurance and fitness Bond was as agile at the end as she was at the beginning, and even marginally quicker.

The World Sheep Shearing Records Society referees had deducted one lamb in the opening run and two in the fourth, as they kept a close eye on the quality of the shear - with about 1kg of wool coming off each lamb.

Bond’s total was almost 120 more than the 601 she had shorn in setting the eight-hour record in February - a record which Whitehead smashed in Southland on Friday with a tally of 686.

Whitehead held the tag of the most shorn by any woman in any record bid for just four days.

There’s more in the tank for 30-year-old mum Bond, who is now based in Te Kuiti.

On February 9, she will tackle the ewes record of 452 in a bid to become the first female to hold solo record for nine hours on both lambs and ewes.

Whitehead, 27, has not yet announced any plans for further record attempts, which followers suggest might include trying to regain the nine-hour lambs record, or becoming the first to shear 700 in eight hours.

The records have been the first two of eight so far scheduled for the summer, with the next on Saturday near Wairarapa township Gladstone.

Masterton shearer Paerata Abraham and Chris Dickson will challenge the solo men’s eight-hours lambs record of 754, set a year ago by King Country shearer Jack Fagan, and the two-stand record of 1410 shorn by Simon Goss, of Mangamahu, and Jamie Skiffington, of Rotorua, set in January this year.