Drought didn't deter eight Merino breeders in the Boorowa district from entering their classed maidens in the 32nd Boorowa Show Society annual flock ewe competition.
Return judge Andrew Raynor, Grathlyn, Hargraves and Tom Kirk, Bundemar, Baldry (having relocated from Condobolin) assessed each flock.
During the day there was a lot of talk about the various virtues of containment lots versus paddock feeding - a common enough problem during the past couple of years.
But with dust a big issue this year despite best efforts of breeders, Tom Kirk raised the issue of lock.
"I have a bit of a theory on lock structure," he said. "As much as the things that contribute to lock structure are genetic, there is also a sort of mechanical thing where you need to have density and nourishment to build that lock structure."
Mr Kirk said if any one of those traits was lost or missing, the lock structure fell to pieces.
"If you are a little short on nourishment then the dust starts to get in and it breaks your lock structure down," he advised the crowd.
"Lock structure, especially if you have well-aligned wools with a little bit of cross-fibre that will hold your lock structure together.
"But if you are aiming for those soft really well-aligned wools that micron well, the only thing that will hold them in a lock structure is the nourishment."
Mr Kirk said it was most important to get nourishment right to the surface of the fleece.
"If you get your tip right the dust will stay on the tip," he said.
The five finalists to be shown at the 2020 Boorowa Show when the winners will be announced were:
- Bruce and Narelle Nixon with Tara Park-blood May-shorn flock
- Bill Hurley with Demondrille-blood June-shorn flock
- Murray Dymock with Royalla-blood late May-shorn flock
- Dermot McGrath with Tara Park-blood June-shorn flock
- Matt McGrath with Tara Park-blood late June-shorn flock