The preliminary results from the first shearing of the 2019-21 Peter Westblade Memorial Merino Challenge had the Bahr family of The Rock top the wool value for autumn drop wethers with an average of $105.46.
The pastora blood-line wethers had a fibre diameter of 15.5, greasy fleece wool of 7.3 and clean fleece weight of 3.7.
Challenge convener, Craig Wilson, said it was not surprising that the Bahrs came out on top, having done well in past trials.
At the end of the last Peter Westblade challenge The Bahr family had the second highest sheep value of $143.43, taking into account both wool and meat components.
"They're cutting a lot of fine wool, it's quite exceptional to cut the amount of kilos they've cut at that fibre diameter," Mr Wilson said.
The Vandenberghe Partners from Scadden, Western Australia had the highest wool value wethers among the winter drop, reaching an average of $99.84.
Mr Wilson said the trial showed that the Vandeberghe sheep's Wattledale bloodline performed well in both Western Australia and the eastern states.
Mr Wilson said another success story from the trial was the Mulquiny's from Wooroonook, Victoria whose Woodpark Poll bloodline wethers came second in the Autumn drop with an average wool value of $96.72, FD of 16.2, GFW of 7.1 and CFW of 3.6.
"They're a great example of what you can do because they didn't even have sheep six years ago, they just went out and bought really quality ewes and rams," Mr Wilson said.
Bernie Mulquiny said his son Harrison became interested in breeding their own Merinos after he won the Peter Westblade scholarship that runs alongside the wether trials.
"We were predominantly croppers and just traded and shore wethers", Mr Mulquiny.
"Initially Harrison and his brother spoke to Stephen Huggins of Woodpark Poll, I didn't know about it but I met Stephen later that day and he said your sons have just agreed to buy some stud ewes off me, I said right, good on them."
The Mulquinys put their quick success down to a quality genetic base in the Woodpark Poll bloodline.
"We liked the elite wool and their doing ability and I just liked the look of the sheep, traditional square, boxy and also their fertility so we've got more scope to get the genetic gain quicker," Mr Mulquiny said.
Mr Wilson said wool quality overall was impressive considering the tough season.
"Even though the season's been challenging we've still cut, $80 of wool average, so that's pretty pleasing really," he said.
Overall microns were down by 0.8 and Mr Wilson said wool yielded about a kilo less than normal.
"One of the most interesting things is even in a tough year you still have that massive variation," said Mr Wilson.
He said this was significant at a time when people were putting a lot of money into their sheep.
"Regardless of their fleece value they're probably eating the same amount so their costs are the same whether they're good or bad," he said.
Wethers in the Peter Westblade trial will be shorn for a second time in 11 months, before final results for both the wool and meat components are tallied.