Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Shear Tenacity; Angora Breeder Committed to Industry

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Shear Tenacity; Angora Breeder Committed to Industry

Article excerpt

Byline: TONI SOMES

HE is the son of a St George sheep cocky, who ended up working as a shearer of a flock of a different kind.

Michael Brigg is a quietly spoken bushie, whose colourful career has included stints as a contractor goat shearer as well as an Angora breeder.

Today he lives on a 600-acre property in the Traprock country south of Warwick, where he runs a 300-head herd of quality Angora goats.

Blessed with a laidback humour, he describes himself as the "son of a sheep cocky" who ventured into the mohair industry.

But in truth his venture started when he was living in the Condamine and Miles area of the western Downs and his young daughter was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

"We were told to try her on goat's milk so I bought some dairy goats," he said.

Several years later, when he realised he was the only one in his family still drinking the highly digestible milk, he switched from the dairy breed to Angoras.

"I bought my first Angoras in the early 1980s and it was about the same time I started working as a contractor goat shearer," he said.

The work allowed him to utilise skills learned as a young chap working in the woolshed on his family property.

"I was a relatively inexperienced shearer back then which, in a way, made it easier for me to adapt to the challenges of shearing a goat as opposed to shearing sheep," Mr Brigg said.

"Goats are lighter but they sit differently to sheep and can probably be a little livelier."

He can comfortably shear a goat in a little less than three minutes.

But he said while his skills improved over time, demand for his services fell - a reflection of the decrease in Angora numbers across the state.

"I don't do much contract work anymore because goat numbers, like sheep, have fallen in recent years."

Mr Brigg attributes the decline in numbers to a widespread dog problem across south-east Queensland, as well as fluctuating prices for mohair.

"When I started out in the early 1980s mohair was worth about $10 per kilogram," he said.

"Since then it has been worth up to $60/kg and down to zero and every price in between. …

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