En route to our Darwin, Goose Green and San Carlos visits, our guide Derek offered us the opportunity to make a quick stop at his sister's farm to see the sheep shearing in progress. Having never seen it before, we agreed and were soon standing in a large shearing shed watching a procession of sheep losing their thick woollen coats.
It surprised us how calm the animals were, and how quick the shearers are. They got through a full grown sheep in less than two minutes, without nicking the sheep or spoiling the fleece.
The fleeces are graded for the quality of the wool - the straighter the wool the better - then packed up and sent off to the buyers. All of the washing and processing is done at the other end.
This was a short but interesting stop, and it reminded me of something that I had heard on the radio when I was listening out for the flight times. Obviously when the sheep are newly sheared, they are more vulnerable to the cold than normal, so as well as the normal weather reports, the local radion station also puts out the 'sheep chill factor' so that farmers know if they need to do anything extra to protect their flock.