For the fourth year running South Canterbury merino farmers Barrie and Yvonne Payne, owners of Visulea Farm in Maungati, have won the Loro Piana Record Bale Award for the highest price paid for a single bale of super-fine graded wool last year. Italian weaving company Loro Piana paid $2950 per kilogram of 11.8-micron clean merino wool, which would produce enough wool to make about 5 suits. The Payne’s bale was recorded as having 11.8 microns, 64mm in length and a strength of 38 nkt (Newtons per kilotex). “It’s quite humbling to be judged the best in New Zealand four years in a row,” Yvonne Payne said. The couple runs more than 3000 merino sheep on their 177ha farm. The Paynes travelled to Beijing where they received their award.