Sheep shearers from the Grampians region are in the midst of their 'hardest season ever' with the industry suffering from a lack of workers.
Typically many overseas workers travel to Australia and the Grampians to help through the sheep-shearing season.
Still, with international borders effectively closed, the heavy workload has fallen on local workers' shoulders.
Experienced Grampians shearing contractor and shearer Roger Pearse said this year had been one of his career's most challenging.
"It has been absolutely terrible," he said.
"It has been very difficult and hard, and everyone is feeling the effects, not only the workers but the farmers as well.
"I worked around here for around 16 years, and this has been the worst ever, the worst ever.
"It's been one out of the box. I hope it is one out of the box, and I just hope nothing like this happens again."
Mr Pearse said a 30 per cent shortage of workers in the region was the main problem, which has now started to affect this season's wool price.
"The lack of workers is the main issue, sheep need to be shorn at certain times to control the length of the wool and that kind of stuff," he said.
"For the wool side of things, when it is longer it downgrades the price and the longer the wool is the bigger the discount because the length is too long for buyers.
"At the moment we are still trying to finish sheds from November and so some sheds, we're getting to them about two months late.
"With my business we are roughly around 35 workers short and at this time of year we are usually running about 90 people."
Mr Pearse also said he hopes people from the region looking for work, would join the industry to help lighten the load.
"We are getting a few from training organisations and a few from in-house training," he said.
"If any one of our workers say 'oh we have a mate who's interested', we say 'hell yes'.
"Elysia has been with us for almost three years and she started as a shed hand and now she is shearing almost full-time," he said.
"We want to get them in and we will certainly give them a crack and teach them as best we can."
Mr Pearse said there were several different avenues to enter the industry, starting from casual labouring jobs as a shed hand, through to qualifications with the Shearer Woolhandler Training.
Mr Pearse also said the majority of this shortage is due to a lack of international arrivals, with large numbers of New Zealand and UK shearers usually in the country at this time of year.
"It is really similar to what the fruit and vegetable growers are going through at the moment too," he said.
"We are just trying the best we can, all our workers are getting really tired, and we are pushing them really hard, but it's just about keeping going.
"There's not much we can do with the amount of staff we've got, besides just keep pushing through."
Mr Pearse also thanked local farmers for their understanding during such a busy time.
"The farmers have been really good, they've certainly been really understanding and they are having as much drama as us," he said.
"They have been as patient as they can be and they haven't been putting too much pressure on us knowing we can only do what we can do, and we are catching up."
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