A shearing record bid which was to have been the first of the new summer in New Zealand has been postponed because of worries that the sheep would not meet the required wool weight.
Multiple records breaker Stacey Te Huia was to have attempted the nine-hour merino wethers record on Saturday December 7, at The Bend, near Ranfurly in Central Otago.
But an informal sample shear on Saturday November 30, had the fleeces averaging about 3.8kg of wool each, falling short of the 4kg minimum set in the rules of the World Sheep Shearing Records Society.
Te Huia immediately advised society secretary Hugh McCarroll and the attempt will now take place on a date to be set about the first week of January.
The New Zealand shearer, who has broken records on both strong wool New Zealand breed and fine wool Australian breed ewes, shearing on each side of the Tasman, is targeting a record of 418 merino wethers in nine hours set by Canterbury shearer Grant Smith in November 1999.
The bid doubles as a suicide awareness projects fundraiser, in memory of Te Huia's daughter, Shaylyn, who died in 2015 at the age of 16.
While the date now depends on new arrangements for a transtasman judging panel, Te Huia says he's not disappointed by the delay in terms of the goal, with the sheep likely to be in better condition.
"The problem we had was that the wethers were up in the high country, it's been cold, they haven't got the grease in the wool like they normally do," he said.
"By the time they brought them down here there's no vegetable matter in the wool, and no grease as well, and that's why they didn't hold the weight".
"Hopefully now that they're down lower in the warmer climate they'll get the grease back into that wool and also an extra three or four weeks of growth" he said.
Australian judge Grant Borchard will still travel to New Zealand to convene a four-man panel for what will now be the first record bid of the season.
It will take place in a Waikaretu woolshed south of Auckland on December 10, when New Zealand-based Canadian shearer Pauline Bolay will tackle the women's eight-hour lambs record of 507, held by Te Huia's sister, Kerri-Jo.