Reducing flock numbers to relieve grazing pressure was the preferred strategy for Gunning flock ewe competition winner Matt and Bec Hewitt, Allamby, Gunning.
Their Tallawong/Yarrawonga/Stockton-blood November-shorn flock were placed ahead of Joe Byrnes, Wood Park, Cullerin with his Bocoble-blood September-shorn ewes and Namaroo Pastoral Co, Nerragundah, Gunning who were awarded third place with their Bogo-blood April-shorn ewes.
In fourth position were the Boxleigh Park/Blyth-blood ewes entered by Greg Hallam, Springfield, Gunning while the fifth place was awarded to the Alfoxton/Blaxland-blood flock bred by Belinda Minehan, Wyuna, Gunning.
The competition was judged by James Derrick, Karoola Poll Merinos, Gundagai and Alex Wilson, Kalaree Poll Merinos, Tarago.
Return judge, Mr Derrick considered the Hewitt’s flock worthy winners for their evenness of type and growth even through a very dry spring and summer.
“We could see the ewes had been looked after and growing a lot of wool,” he said.
Mr Hewitt said the decision to go through each of the age groups of ewes but especially the older ewes and take out those which were not up the standard they are aiming at has got the rest of their flock through a very dry winter and spring.
“It gave us some breathing space, and even though we have been feeding we have been able to keep our sheep in good condition,” he said.
“We also sold our wethers straight off their mothers for $70.”
Mr Hewitt pointed out it was not normal practice to sell their wethers as lambs but last year the price was very good and worth taking.
“We knew it was going to be a battle and we decided it would be best to save the feed for their sisters,” he said.
“We have quite a bit of confidence in the wool industry so it is worthwhile looking after our sheep as best we can.”
Mr Hewitt said they have shut up as much of their country as they can possible spare to give their pastures an increased chance of recovery once it rains, and he is hopeful of a reasonable Autumn break.
“We have a green pick and 20mm rain will get us going for the Autumn,” he said.
Mark Headly, NSW wool manager AWN does the classing for Mr Hewitt and selects the top 70 percent of the annual draft of July/August-drop maidens.
For the 2018 season, 1050 Merino ewes were joined with 1017 lambs being weaned.
The mean micron for the fleece lines of the 2018 November-shorn wool clip was 17.6 while the hogget lines measured 15.9 micron.
The Allamby flock bred by the Hewitt family had been awarded second place in the 2018 competition.