Meet our Latest Recruit and Resident Woolgrower!

Meet our newest Wool Centre recruit and passionate woolgrower, Madeleine Scott. Read on to find out how she got into woolgrowing, what she loves about it, and the misconceptions of the industry.

What initially drew you to woolgrowing, and how did you get started in the industry?

I’m not from a wool-growing background but have always loved wool. I grew up with a Mum who hand-spun and knitted my sisters and I woollen jumpers. Fast forward 30 years and my husband Andrew and I met a lovely ex-shearer, Les Triffett, who introduced us to the joys of woolgrowing on our small block in Conara. It was sitting unused, and he saw the potential – next thing you know he brought over a few sheep! This expanded with our purchase of Myrtlewood in 2006, and Snowhill in 2023, so you could say it went from the sublime to the ridiculous! (laughs).

Can you share some insights into the day-to-day tasks involved in woolgrowing production on your farm?

This varies according to the time of year, but it’s a long list! Things like vaccinating, drenching, lamb-marking, classing ewes and rams, building new sheds and yards, shearing, crutching, lambing, moving mobs, fencing, checking water points, feeding out, bookwork and farm audits – the list goes on!

What do you find most rewarding about being a woolgrower?

Being involved with an incredible product, grown in a beautiful environment, with so many wonderful people across all stages of the wool supply chain. And I love Merino sheep!

In your opinion, what misconceptions do people often have about wool production?

This is a great question. Something I’ve heard said is that it must be easy to be a woolgrower. Looking out over a paddock of sheep, people sometimes think they just graze and come in once a year for shearing. There’s a misconception about the amount of work involved and the profitability – it’s hard work and you really must love it. With 90% of our wool being exported to China, we’re at the mercy of foreign markets and exchange rates. We’re actually paid the same amount as we were 20 years ago, so yes, you really have to love the animals and the people to continue on. It is a truly amazing fibre that is the solution to many of the world’s environmental challenges, so that is also a great incentive to keep going.

*Images by Jason Cartwright, courtesy of Vitale Barberis Canonico.