Nixon family's ewes back-to-back win

Nixon family's ewes back-to-back win

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FORTY Merino enthusiasts at the 27th Ted Little Memorial Trundle Merino Ewe Field Day last Thursday heard livestock husbandry tips and crop alternatives for this year, plus insights to three of the region's top Merino flocks.

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IN A back-to-back win in the Ted Little Memorial Trundle Merino Ewe competition, James and Elise Nixon have continued in the Nixon family tradition of breeding big wool-cutting fertile Merinos.

The Nixon family began exhibiting in the competition in 1999 when the flock of the late Grant Nixon and wife, Dominique, gained second placing and in the 12 years leading to his untimely death the flock had been the most successful exhibitor with eight wins including a hat-trick (2000-2002).

James Nixon said the 144 maidens displayed from the Bundemar blood flock averaging 19.5 micron after a 37 per cent culling, came from an 86pc lambing in 2018. The flock was classed by Tom Kirk of Bundemar stud.

However, last year the lambing percentage had increased to 115pc and ewes had cut six kilograms in an eight month shearing.

"They have been running on the creek country with the lambs, but they went back a little bit," he said.

"So all went onto barley and failed pea crops with lick feeders for some of the time.

"We will be joining in the next couple of weeks and crutch them before hand."

Returning judge and Cowra-based livestock consultant, Ashley White, was joined by introduction judge, Matthew Bell, who manages Egelabra stud's Eenaweena ram depot at Warren. Mr White said it was good to return and see this year's maidens.

"I hear by your own admission they are not quite as well grown as last year, but they are still not bad," he said.

"When you put your hands on them and condition or fat score them, they're plenty good enough to join and these are still cracking ewes and they are a real nice even type."

Mr White said the ewes were heavy-cutting sheep.

"And the good thing about that now as opposed to 30 years ago is that we have nice, free-growing, long-staple wool which is well nourished and keeps the dust out, rather than fleece-weight via really dense sheep that's short and got dingy yellow wool."

Mr White said that was a good thing about heavy cutting sheep now.

"You can shear them and you have that beautiful long staple, free growing wool which is great.

"There's not a lot of faults in them."

Gowing Partners take runner up

Cranley and Georgie Gowing and family of Gowing Partners, Lowan, Trundle, took out second place with their 20.5 average micron Darriwell blood flock maidens.

Cranley Gowing said he believed the 170 ewes displayed came from a 77pc lambing at marking, spoke for themselves.

"But when on their mums, they came through a dramatic grain feed change of barley to wheat, and we didn't realise the lambs were eating as much grain as they were," he said.

"It turned out to be acidosis from picking up more grain on the trail we thought they were. We didn't lose a ewe, but we bowled-over lambs left, right and centre."

Ashley White said apart from the disasters during this drought he remembered walking into the mob last year and thought - heavy cutting.

"And that's what these sheep are," he said.

Consistent Curyo

Anthony and Margaret Simmons, Trundle, have displayed their flock in each of the 27 competitions and gained the encouragement award. Their Curyo flock has placed eight times and won in 2010.

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