The Dubbo Prime Lamb Hoof and Hook Competition jumped from 89 pens entered last year to 112 pens of lambs this year across trade, export and heavy export classes.
The pen to beat was the Poll Dorset-sired entry from Westwood Grazing Company, run by Matt and Kellie Mason and Matt’s parent’s Nick and Mary, Spicers Creek.
Their champion pen of Tattykeel-blood lambs averaged 49.3 kilograms and scored 85.8 points on the hoof and 85.8 points on the hook. These were the champion sucker lambs, and Westwood also took reserve in the suckers, too.
Matt said the lambs were from Border Leicester/Merino ewes bought from his cousins, also Masons, at “Spicers Run”, Spicers Creek.
Westwood runs 4500 ewes and sells 6500 lambs a year from its 2428 hectare property, “Westwood”. The lambs were January 2018-drop and raised on improved pasture with some supplementation of lucerne hay and oats.
Yanco Agricultural High School, Yanco, won grand champion pen on the hook, for which it was awarded the AJ Morris Shield and Trophy.
These lambs were bred in the school’s stud White Suffolk flock, which includes about 120 breeding ewes, and were August-September drop, shorn by the students, averaged 43.9kg and were awarded a score of 92.2 points on the hook.
The lambs were part of a trial with the Year 9 ag students, for eight weeks leading up to the show. This included half the lambs on barley and half on oats. The winning lambs came from the oats group.
Kevin and Robyn McMahon, who run “Pine Park” and “Milverton”, Tullamore, with their son and his wife, Ross and Lucie, entered the heaviest carcase in show, at 42.6kg, and also won grand and reserve champion on the hoof and most successful exhibitor.
This was their first time in the competition. Robyn said the lambs were on a ration of barley, cottonseed meal and Lauke Pellets for 11 weeks, were bred from first-cross ewes and sired by their own Mill Park Poll Dorset rams.
Their champion pen on the hoof averaged 74.4kg, and scored 92.3 points on the hoof. The rest of their mob was sold on Tuesday through Forbes saleyards for $220 a head.
Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School, Tamworth, had the highest yielding pen, with its Poll Dorset/White Suffolk lambs bred from Farrer White Suffolk-blood ewes.
The pen, selected by the Year 9 Wool Science students and grain assisted on pasture, averaged 50.7kg with a 57.2 per cent yield, 16.7 millimetres of fat, with a 29kg average carcase weight to total 85 points on the hook.
The lambs were judged on the hook by Tracy Lamb and David Hopkins, NSW DPI Extensive Livestock Team, Cowra.
Livestock manager for major sponsor, Fletchers International Exports, Terry Mitchell, said it was also great to see the Yanco and Farrer students pitch in and help with the feeding and watering of the lambs.