Cooler weather and red hot markets helped fuel interest in this year’s Parkes Doug Bicket Memorial Maiden Ewe Competition with 65 Merino enthusiasts in attendance.
It is also believed to be the first time genomic profiling had been utilised in a ewe competition thanks to an alliance forged between the organising committee and the Sheep CRC.
With nine teams entered competition was strong and a range of Merino types and environments were observed.
It was the extremely white, free growing wool of the Rice family’s “Hillview” entry, Cookamidgera, that caught the eye of judge Graham Wells, formerly of One Oak Stud, Jerilderie, who said the team was extremely well grown and productive.
“This team is on the cusp of being shorn three times in two years and they are going to cut a huge amount of extremely white, well nourished wool,” he said.
Co-judge Craig Wilson, Craig Wilson and Associates, sang the praises of the team.
“This mob appears to be extremely well managed and are well suited to the environment in which they are being run. They are very well-balanced and well-positioned within the industry with great fibre and carcase traits. They are a credit to the owners,” he said.
Based on Overland blood and classed by Ian Lovell, the 20-micron ewes were last shorn in June and exhibited great staple length that will see them shorn in the not too distant future.
The “Milpose” entry of Craig and Liz Tanswell, Goonumbla, continued a strong run over the past decade picking up second place with their March-shorn, Egelabra-blood team classed by Andy McLeod, Dubbo.
Jack and Jenny Hoy and family won the encouragement award with their “Lonepine” flock, Adavale. Dropped in September and May shorn, the Thuruna-blood team impressed with the wool quality and nourishment they displayed.
Sheep CRC industry engagement and training co-ordinator, Lu Hogan, was on hand following the extremely successful genomics workshop held the day before. She helped explain the results and indexes for each entry and reinforced that Sheep CRC was committed to ensuring genomic testing was rolled out and affordable to commercial producers across the country. All nine teams returned very positive genomic test results when compared with the national flock average. Results may aid entrants in selecting future rams particularly when coupled with RamSelect.