Southern Tablelands Flock Ewe Championship 2020: Meet the competitors and judges

Southern Tablelands Flock Ewe Championship 2020: Meet the competitors and judges

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The 2020 Southern Tablelands Flock Ewe Championship is on March 20.

Merino stud breeders John Alcock and Steve Phillips are set to judge the 2020 Southern Tablelands Flock Ewe Championship (STFEC) on March 20.

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TOP OF THE FLOCK: Narelle and Bruce Nixon, Clovelly, Frogmore, were the winners of the 2019 Southern Tablelands Flock Ewe Competition. Photo: Stephen Burns

TOP OF THE FLOCK: Narelle and Bruce Nixon, Clovelly, Frogmore, were the winners of the 2019 Southern Tablelands Flock Ewe Competition. Photo: Stephen Burns

The World Federation of Merino Breeders president and Queensland wool grower, Will Roberts of Victoria Downs, Morven, was due to judge.

However, he will be in self-isolation to prevent the spread of coronavirus, having returned from a two-week Merino conference and tour in New Zealand the day before the championship.

Instead, Mr Alcock of Greenland stud, Bungarby, will judge the competition alongside South West Slopes Stud Breeders Merino Field Day president, Mr Phillips of Yarrawonga in Harden.

Mr Phillips said they'll be judging the production and profitability of each flock including lambing percentages, wool cut and body weight.

"The teams that are being presented are all first or second place candidates in their local competition so the standard is going to be very high. There will probably be a bit of nit-picking to find the top ones," Mr Phillips said.

Organisers are also asking for limited numbers of the public to attend to keep the crowd to a minimum and for anyone feeling unwell not to attend at all.

They will also be encouraging social distancing measures including no hand shaking.

The judges will view top flocks from Boorowa, Crookwell, Gunning and Taralga including Flowerburn, Franita, Allamby, Naamaroo Pastoral, Clear View Partnership, Killanear, Meadow Drive and Ayrston.

Crookwell Flock Ewe Competition winners Brad and Maria Cartwright of Kempton, Laggan and Gunning Flock Ewe Competition winners Narrelle and Bruce Nixon of Clovelly, Frogmore were unable to take part in the championship.

"It's exciting to see the championship grow and secure high calibre judges that can bring with them not only their merino knowledge but also industry perspective," the STFEC Committee said.

Stud master and sheep classer Tom Kirk from Baldry, NSW will also be there on the day to talk about what he's learnt from the Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) as a member of the Wool Industry Consultative Panel and what the company has planned for the group.

Mr Kirk also represents the Commercial Merino Ewe Competitions Association.

Some 100 students were set to take part in junior judging at the championship. However, following the Department of Education's latest policy for schools to ban excursions, organisers have decided not to hold this component. Students would have travelled from Bathurst and Goulburn.

A total of 38 flocks entered into the local competitions at Boorowa, Crookwell, Gunning and Taralga.

Organisers said it was an outstanding result in a harsh year for merino producers who have faced adverse conditions presented by the drought.

"Even with the number of entrants reduced, strong and interested crowds participated in the local competitions," the STFEC Committee said.

There was plenty of discussion on drought management strategies, mulesing and other animal health practices at the local competitions, the committee said.

"With such a tough season for producers who have incurred an increased work load with feeding stock, the STFEC presents an opportunity to have a break whilst spending the day looking around the district, talking with other producers and industry personnel, seeing how others have approached the drought, breeding, animal health and an array of other topics which are discussed throughout the day."

The 2020 Southern Tablelands Flock Ewe Championship will start in Taralga at 7.40am, before heading to Crookwell, Gunning for lunch at 12.15pm and onto Boorowa at 5.30pm for presentations at the Court House Hotel. RSVP for presentations to Ally Jaffrey on 0428 739 405.

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