A chat with Daniel Creer - Isle of Man

Daniel Creer is one of two competitors representing the Isle of Man at next week's World Championships. He gave us an insight in to farming back home in the country that can lay claim to being the smallest in area at this year's Championships.

So, from a farming point of view tell us how the agricultural sector fits in to the big picture on the Isle of Man.

The agricultural sector on the Isle of Man has a long history. In recent years, it has become a lot tougher with the banking sector but there's still a fair number of people involved in farming and there's still 50 or 60 thousand sheep on the Isle of Man so it's still relatively big and they've all got to be shorn.

And you're just the man to do that. Tell us your background in shearing, how you got involved and how long you've been at it.

I suppose I've been at it 10-12 years or so but I'd always done the off little bit before that. My Aunty was a shearer and she shore over here (in New Zealand) and my father was a shearer, so we've always had Kiwis coming over to help with the shearing over the past 20-odd years.

As a young fella you would jump on and do a bit of the last side or you help out moving the fleeces and filling the pens. It's been three months of the year for most of my life.

I was 19 and I decided to go travelling so I came over here and stayed with a fella we knew over here and the following year we came back out and worked for Darin Forde down south and did three or four season there. I haven't been back for a while so this is the first time in three of four years.

A good excuse to come back for a World Championships. So tell us about the qualifying process.

There are a few local shows where they found the top shearers, the usual way it is.

You're a farmer, so you've got a property back home?

My father has the property. I rent 1500 acres and have 800 sheep and 150 cows so I have a fair selection at home.

So what sort of country is it?

Well we are only a small island. The way the island is you've got everything from fairly hilly country, up through the centre and into the north which has quite a few Swaledale-cross and blackface-cross up in the hills, down to where you've got flat plains in the north that have got a lot of cereal and then a lot of Texel-cross and Suffolk-cross ewes around there and anything in between through the rest of the island.

There's three of four different climates. You get the good grain weather in the north and a bit wetter through the middle, so there's a fair variation really

For the ignorant like me, give us an idea of the size of the island.

It's about 15 miles by 30. And the population would be similar to Southland, so it's fairly heavily populated.

And the sheep themselves, how do they compare to these big Romney ewes you are having to throw around today?

Well, I wouldn't say they are a lot smaller, but they are a lot more open and the wool is a lot less dense as well, so it is a big change. There are some Romneys getting about at home and in the UK so it's not as big a change as it used to be.

Most of the sheep would be a Texel-cross or Suffolk-cross in the first half of the season, followed up by a bit of blackface and Swaledale-crosses, that's the Scottish blackface, later through July really.

And your thoughts about World Champs? What are you looking forward to there?

I'm looking forward to having a go at the rest of the world really. I quite enjoy the shearing competitions and this is the first one (World Championships) in a while over here which is a big step up from the ones in the UK really, so it's nice to get a bit of practice in and see how we go.

Nice mate. Good luck for it.

Thank you.


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