Growing stylish wool will never go out of fashion and flocks entered in the 2018 Bookham Merino ewe competition showed producers are as keen as ever to breed Merino sheep with the ability to produce wool that meets current consumer demands.
Judges for this year were Jono Merriman, Merrignee and Koonwarra Merinos, Boorowa, and Simon Flick, Boorowa-based wool specialist with Landmark.
Mr Flick noted it is a “flock ewe, not a feed ewe” competition with the intention of raising the ability of the Merino flocks to be able to perform under all conditions, albeit with supplementary feeding during dry periods.
“Concentrate on your classing percentage,” he said.
“Go a bit harder, as it will pay to keep taking out the off-type ewe which catches your eye.”
Mr Merriman concurred and told the assembled woolgrowers their flocks would improve at a greater rate if they continued to class their age groups each year.
“Keep ticking out anything you don’t like, but you must make allowance for a ‘twinner’ and their age,” he said.
Backing up from their win last year, Roy and Graham Robertson, “Sutton Grange”, Bookham, were awarded first place overall for their June-shorn Tallawong/Merrignee/Yarrawonga-blood flock.
Classed by Roy Robertson, he took 28 per cent out of the maiden ewes to maintain his type and this was noted by Mr Merriman.
“They are very even flock and even though there a few smaller ones, they are still the same type,” he said.
Placed second overall was the Broula-blood flock bred and classed by Dacre Weston, “Shaloom”, Bookham.
Mr Flick noted the finish of the sheep and said he liked their stretch and good strong heads.
“They are big sheep for their age,” he said.
Third place was awarded to Caroline Spittle and Rosie Mitchell, Kingslea Partnership, Bookham, for their flock of Grogansworth-blood ewes classed for the last time by Ian Marwedel.
This flock has never been out of the top three whenever it has been entered in the competition and the sheep entered this year were noted for their shape, size and wool growing capacity.
Sandy and Pete Shannon, Bookham Station, Bookham, were awarded the encouragement prize for their Yarrawonga-blood flock, while Richard Hyles, “Westbourne”, Bookham took the shortwool award for his Yarrawonga-blood flock.