Rees' back-to-back win at West Wyalong

West Wyalong Maiden Ewe comp win to Rees family

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Keith Rees of Sydenham, Kildary near Beckom, with his ewes of Pooginook blood that have been classed by Bruce Baker. Photo: Hannah Powe

Keith Rees of Sydenham, Kildary near Beckom, with his ewes of Pooginook blood that have been classed by Bruce Baker. Photo: Hannah Powe

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Keith and Paula Rees of Beckom has won the West Wyalong Maiden Ewe Competition for the second consecutive year.

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KEITH and Paula Rees of Sydenham, Beckom, have taken top honours in the West Wyalong Maiden Ewe Competition, making it a second consecutive win for the family.

On Pooginook blood for the past 30 years, the Rees run about 500 ewes that are joined back to a Merino along with about 450 cross breds that are joined for a second cross lamb.

Targetting a soft wool with an average micron of 20, their flock is annually classed by Bruce Baker with 25 per cent culled out of the 21-month-old ewes on display.

On a March shearing, the flock cuts an average 7.82 kilogram fleece with a 62.7pc yield.

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Taking home the win for the second time, Keith Rees said he had previously been involved in the competition 20 years ago and had only been able to snag a second place in 1998 before the back-to-back honours.

Mr Rees said they target a good size ewe that grows a lot of wool, microns well and has a lamb.

"We like to buy the longest stapled rams we can ... I love a very defined, bold crimp of wool," he said.

"I've found with Pooginook blood they are very soft wooled sheep that micron well.

"We buy our rams out of the (Pooginook) auction so it can be hard to get what we want, but we select a lot on figures."

Last year the Rees DNA tested their maiden ewes and they tested at the top end of the test, so Mr Rees was pretty happy and will keep charging along.

The judges commented on the "presence" of the ewes as soon as you walk into the yards.

The judges commented on the "presence" of the ewes as soon as you walk into the yards.

The judges commented on the "presence" of the ewes as soon as you walk into the yards.

Associate judge Emma Northey of Quade Moncrief Property and Livestock Pty Ltd, West Wyalong, said they were great deep, long bodied ewes with a great under carriage.

"I think the first think you notice is they have a cracking topline and it starts from the head and carries all the way down," Ms Northey said.

"They have plenty of heart room, a good hindquarter ... big and square and it carries right through. A small handful were a bit soft in their front pasterns, and a few were a bit hocky, but they are deep barrelled ewes, long bodied ewes."

Judge Ray Cannon of Westray Merinos, Peak Hill, said the skin type of these that were generally very good, because of the staple length which has been a priority in selection.

"The bone structure, depth of the side and the toplines, and quality of the head is apparent in these ewes," Mr Cannon said. "Being critical they could have a bit more nourishment a lock."

The skins, what they are growing, and the actual size of the ewes is what impressed judge Glen Rubie of Lachlan Merinos, Forbes, who said "they are going to be productive, and that is their really strong virtue".

"They are good profitable sheep," Mr Rubie said.

West Waylong High School students inspecting the fleeces at the Rees property.

West Waylong High School students inspecting the fleeces at the Rees property.

A common theme among the visits of the West Wyalong competition was dust penetration caused by prolonged periods of no rain and numerous dust storms through the area.

"The young girls have had a tough time. I cannot remember this place being so bare," Mr Rees said.

"They've been walking around in dust for six months and even when I had them on a bit of crop they were still kicking up dust.

"Hopefully they have done a good enough job at keeping the dust out."

Discussing ram selection and buying at auction on the day, the judges agreed that ram input is one of the most important factors that can help producers improve.

Mr Rubie said "when you go to an auction, it is moreso picking the rams that are not going to do the job for you and you don't look at them, they are the ones you don't want".

"Then you have it down to a group of rams that will probably do the job for you," he said.

"It is important to remember the cheapest ram will probably be the most expensive ... he won't do a job for you, and you will cull the lot."

Mr Cannon said "if you keep selecting rams that are exactly the end product you want on your ewes, you will never get there... you need impact sires."

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