2013 Australian wool fashion awards

The 2013 'Australian Wool Fashion awards' were held on March 16th at 'Saumarez Homestead', Armidale, NSW, Australia....

What does the future hold?

The Charmac Merino Stud Launch on 12.10.10 was the first step in introducing the Charmac Merino...

How will it be used?

The main criteria for the Charmac Market Plan involves seeking expressions of interest from...

What is The Charmac?

We were fortunate to start with a base of a plain-bodied merino developed by the...

Wool Charne' excites wool growers and fashion designers

A little cream dress with connections to royalty and made from ethically produced wool will be centre stage at the Henty Machinery Field Days. The dress, dubbed “Kate’’, was modelled on a design from the wardrobe of the Duchess of Cambridge, and made from Wool Charne', an innovative pure wool fabric developed by Albury wool growers Leon and Sandra Martin.

Wool Charne' has excited leading Australian fashion designers for its softness, drape and next-to-skin comfort. Australian Wool Fashion Awards managing director Liz Foster commissioned NSW dressmaker Julie Harris to make a cocktail dress from Wool Charne'. Featuring a square neckline and layered skirt, the dress will be on display at the field days.

Mrs Foster said the Wool Charne' weave, matt appearance and smoothness had delighted the designers. She said the fabric had been described by designers as “divine” , with the natural antique white shade fitting perfectly with 2013 autumn/winter collections.

Wool growers Leon and Sandra Martin had worked with Albury based wool industry consultant David Tester and Macquarie Textiles on the design and development of the innovative Wool Charne' weave. The fabric has value added to the couple’s Charmac Merino wool.

The Charmac is a South African Merino strain, originally derived from the Australian Wanganella Merino and with a naturally bare breech, requiring no mulesing.

Mr Martin envisages sourcing wool from Charmac Merino progeny once demand for processed Charmac wool grows. He said the unmulesed Charmac wool sat well with consumers wanting ethically produced fabric.

The Charmac has fine-to-medium white, bright wool combined with high fertility and easy lambing. Its bloodlines can now be found in 99 per cent of South African Merino studs and also influences the Dohne breed. Charmac sheep are known for high-quality mutton with even fat distribution and marbling, and a fine-grained meat.

For the past 20 years, Leon and Sandra, together with Leon’s parents Ian and Val Martin, have run Limousin cattle on 320ha at Table Top, north of Albury. Leon discovered the Charmac when asked to collect carcass measurements on young rams by the Dutton family, of Uralla, NSW.

The Duttons had introduced Charmac genetics to Australia in 2007 using frozen embryos. Impressed by the carcass traits, the Martins bought 100 of the Dutton family’s sheep including three-year-old ewes and rams, ram lambs and hogget ewes in 2010.

The couple quickly found the Charmac’s easy-care attributes meant less blowfly strike, no mulesing and faster shearing. Adult ewes measure 19-23 micron, cut on average 5.2kg of wool and last year lambed at 175 per cent. Fleece weights for rams averaged 7.9kg.

Mr Martin uses visual assessment and scoring of the animal for conformation, structural soundness and temperament.
Live scanning and indexing to identify meat yield, carcass quality and variable fat content gives a weighted carcass merit index.
Wool is assessed and scored for length, whiteness, brightness, softness, character and style.

Mr Martin said the hogget ewes – progeny of Charmac rams joined to Australian Merino ewes – inherited the clean breech. Charmac Merino rams and ewes will be on display at this year’s Henty Machinery Field Days, along with Wool Charne' fabric and garments.