CHAMPION shearer Rowland Smith has set a new world record by shearing 644 ewes in eight hours – an average of one sheep per 44.72 seconds.

The 30 year old from New Zealand smashed the previous record of 605 ewes, which had been held by fellow New Zealander, Leon Samuels, since 2010.

Mr Smith set the record – regularly achieving under 35 seconds per sheep – at his brother’s Trefranck Farm, St Clether, in Cornwall, supported by his friends and family, and other shearers and sheep producers.

He trained for months online with Cornish fitness trainers Matt Luxton and Mike Goodman and since arriving in the UK competed in a number of shearing competitions, including at the Great Yorkshire Show.

“It has by no means been an easy road to get here, but having been inspired by my brother, Matt, I am delighted that all of the hard work has paid off,” he said.

Alan Marshall, British Wool’s board member for South West England, said: “World-shearing record attempts are the ultimate challenge for any shearer and it is so good for the British and global wool industry that Rowland chose to complete his here in the UK.”

Shearing since the age of 12, his long list of shearing titles include four times Golden Shears Open Shearing winner; five times New Zealand Shearing Championships Open Shearing winner; former World Machine Shearing Champion, former two-stand eight hour world shearing record holder (alongside his brother, Doug); Master Shearer; and, most recently, he won the 2017 New Zealand Rural Sportsperson of the Year.