POLL Merinos may have been lower in numbers at Sydney Royal Show this year, but their quality and wool-growing capabilities were never in doubt.
A smaller number of just 53 head from 14 exhibitors made up the section this year with ultrafine, superfine and fine wool judged by Simon Bahr, Meadow View Poll stud, Henty, while Syd Lawrie, Collandra North stud, Tumby Bay, South Australia, judged the fine-medium, medium and strong wools.
Grand champion Poll Merino ram broad ribbon went to the Merriman family's March shorn six-tooth fine wool grand champion from Merryville stud, Boorowa, advancing from its championship win at the Great Southern Merino in Canberra earlier this year.
Sired by a Uniform Poll family ram and growing 17.3 micron wool with a comfort factor (CF) of 99.7 per cent, this ram stood against a Grassy Creek four-tooth which become the reserve champion in the March-shorn section.
The Merryville ram was then selected over Nerstane stud's August shorn two-tooth for the fine wool grand award. Speaking on behalf of the two judges Simon Bahr said the ram had a big barrel and was deep bodied with a power of wool on him.
"It's long staple, bright, well marked wool and really hard to go past for overall champion," he said.
Woolbrook-based Nerstane stud of the McLaren family then took out grand champion Poll Merino ewe award with their two-tooth fine-medium August shorn winner in its first showing.
She was growing 19.7 micron wool with a CF of 99.8pc and placed over another six-tooth Nerstane ewe for the August shorn award, then stood against another Nerstane ewe, the March shorn champion, to gain the grand fine-medium championship.
Judge, Syd Lawrie said it was a close decision between the August shorn and the March shorn Nerstane ewes.
"They are two top ewes and a credit to the McLaren family," Mr Lawrie said.
Nerstane's grand champion ewe was also junior champion August shorn ewe with reserve ribbon going to Lynford stud of the Rayner family, Hargraves.
Lynford stud also exhibited the March shorn junior champion ewe which was the champion superfine wool ewe, a two-tooth growing 16.2 micron wool with Bocoble stud, Eumungerie, reserve March superfine ewe champion.
Junior champion August shorn ram award went to Garry and Donna Kopp's Towonga stud, Peak Hill, with Nerstane reserve. Towonga's junior, sired by Lachlan 10, was growing 21 micron wool with a CF of 99.3pc.
Simon Bahr said while the two rams were upstanding, the Towonga ram was selected for his neck extension and presence.
This show marked the first showing of both Towonga and Towalba studs since division through the Kopp family's succession plan last year.
Warick and Barbara Kopp's Towalba stud exhibited the grand champion strong wool ram, a March-shorn four-tooth with Towonga's August shorn champion standing reserve.
A lone ultrafine four-tooth exhibit from Bocoble stud, Eumungerie, gained the section's grand championship.
Bungarby-based Greenland stud operated by the Alcock family exhibited the grand champion medium wool ram, a four-tooth, after it took out top honours in the March shorn section from a Towonga six-tooth.
This 18.6 micron wool ram by a Lachlan sire whose bloodline traces back to the 2013 One Oak supreme Sydney ewe, was placed above the August shorn champion shown by Roseville Park stud of Matthew and Cherie Coddington and family, Dubbo, which then became reserve grand champion.
The Roseville Park four-tooth reserve by Roseville Park 330 was growing 17.1 micon wool with a 99.9pc CF.
Greenland stud was also successful in the March shorn fine-medium wool ram section with their four-tooth ram awarded champion and then advancing to grand champion after standing against Roseville Park's 17.6 micron August shorn ram.
Grassy Creek stud of Michael and Jane Corkhill, Reids Flat, featured in the fine wool ewe section taking home both champion and reserve March shorn ribbons with these continuing to grand and reserve grand champion ewes of the fine wool set. The grand champion ewe was by Yarrawonga 961 and was growing 19.4 micron with a CF of 99.8pc while the reserve was by Grassy Creek Henry.