The Great Southern Supreme Merino (GSSM) show, sponsored by Rabobank, is naturally the opening show of the season; and with many studmasters bringing their teams in preparation for the Sydney Sheep Show and other major shows listed for 2018, competition is edgy as breeders seek to compare their efforts against each other.
The 71st GSSM saw 356 Merino and Poll Merino sheep parade before judges Wayne Button, Manunda, Tammin, WA, Simon Bahr, Meadow View, Henty, Phillip Carlon, Queenlee, Uralla and Hamish McLaren, Nerstane, Woolbrook.
Speaking after the show, Mr McLaren complimented all exhibitors on the presentation of their sheep, and the manner in which they are responding to market demands.
“Some of these breeders are trying different things: their constitution is better, the wool is better and there is a lot more wool,” he said.
Competition was tough during the two days, but eventually a four tooth superfine March-shorn ram exhibited by Peter and Jayne Lette, Conrayn, Berridale was awarded the sash.
Superfine judge, Phillip Carlon said the ram showed excellent maturity, and was covered with a very even fleece, true to type, soft and with great length of staple.
A four tooth March-shorn fine/medium wool ewe bred by John Williams, Thalabah, Laggan was awarded the ewe grand championship. (See The Land 25 January).
Supreme Poll exhibit was awarded to Ian and Janet Griffith, Brundanella, Grenfell for their two tooth March-shorn fine/medium wool ram which was also judged junior champion ram and supreme junior champion exhibit. (See The Land 25 January).
James and Julie Barron, Adina, Cooma paraded the grand champion Poll Merino ewe, a two-tooth March-shorn ewe shown in the fine/medium wool classes. Their ewe was also judged junior champion ewe.
The August-shorn ram championship was awarded to Richard Chalker, Lach River, Darbys Falls for his ram shown in the medium/strong wool classes while the reserve, a fine/medium wool ram was exhibited by Garry Cox, Langdene, Dunedoo.
Mr Cox was awarded the ewe championship for his fine wool entry, with Paul Walton, Wurrook, Rokewood, Victoria taking the reserve with his fine wool ewe.
Doug Walker, Wongara, Old Junee showed the champion Poll ram, with Malcolm Cox, Bocoble, Mudgee taking the reserve: while Paul Walton showed the champion Poll ewe ahead of Andrew Rayner, Lynford Poll, Grathlyn.
Conrayn supreme has great lineage
The 71st Great Southern Supreme Merino show(GSSM) was the second showing for the supreme exhibit, bred by Peter and Jayne Lette, Conrayn, Berridale.
At the 2017 Australian Sheep and Wool Show in Bendigo, he was beaten in his superfine class by another Conrayn ram: in that instance the ram which was subsequently judged champion sale ram for the 71st GSSM.
Mr Lette said the sire line goes back to a Merryville ram by Ringmaster 35th he had purchased at the Armidale sales many years ago.
The sire line has had significant genetic influence on the Conrayn stud, with the current supreme ram a great grandson of the Merryville purchase.
However, the dam of the supreme ram has an even more illustrious lineage, as she was a member of the winning Conrayn entry in the Lionel Weatherly Trophy group at the 2012 Lionel Weatherly Trophy.
Mr Lette said she was bred in the President family, which descends from Alfoxton President and was in turn a daughter of a ewe which had an impressive show record.
“It goes to show how significant is the maternal line in breeding,” Mr Lette said.