Heavy fleece weight wins at Bookham

Heavy fleece weight wins at Bookham

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Dacre and Lois Weston, Shalom, Bookham with their heavy cutting Broula-blood maiden ewes winners of the Bookham Agricultural Bureau ewe competition.

Dacre and Lois Weston, Shalom, Bookham with their heavy cutting Broula-blood maiden ewes winners of the Bookham Agricultural Bureau ewe competition.

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The annual Bookham Agricultural Bureau ewe competition was conducted bearing in mind current advice re social gatherings.

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Last year, Dacre and Lois Weston's Broula-blood maiden ewes cut nine kilograms fleece on their property Shalom, Bookham; and this year their entry in the annual Bookham Agricultural Bureau ewe competition was awarded the Elders Trophy for best ewe flock.

Judges Bea Bradley-Litchfield, Hazeldean, Cooma and Alex Wilson, Kalaree Poll Merino stud, Tarago had seven flocks to consider.

The Weston's flock backed up last years win but Mr Weston thought his ewes this year had a bit more dust than he would have liked.

"We got short of water in some paddocks and we had these ewes running in a paddock with good water but not a lot of cover," he said.

"The sheep have done well for us, last year the maidens averaged nine kilograms and bought home $108.

"We scanned our ewes and last year the maidens at 90 percent and the next age group at 97 percent, overall for ewes joined with the drys taken out we marked 102 percent."

Mr Weston said he is still working on increasing the size of his ewes and also lifting the overall fertility of the flock.

His ram selection criteria is based around the biggest sheep he can afford but bearing in mind the length of staple within a 18 and half micron to 19 and half micron range.

"I like them nice and thick but not to too thick they won't grow wool," he said."

Commenting on the quality of the sheep seen throughout the day, Mr Wilson thought the standard was extraordinarily high considering the season: and when speaking about the Weston's flock he praised their growth for young sheep.

"They are incredibly well grown line of maidens through a successive run of bad seasons," he said.

"I think on the whole the wool is well crimped but you can't expect them to keep the dust out with what they have gone through."

Mr Wilson advised the crowd to look under the dust on the tip of the fleece and look down at the quality of wool on the skin.

"What is coming off the skin is the true indicator of what the sheep are capable of doing," he said.

"If you break open the staple and have a look inside the staple you will see white wool.

"It is the fluffy sheep who let the water in and water out and the dust in and stays in."

Mr Wilson said with wool which has a more appropriate tip they will hold the dust to a point and keep the yield high.

When making comment about lambing percentages, he pointed out it is well known Merino ewes scan well, but getting them to the next step of lamb survival means more pressure be placed on selection for mothering ability.

Second place for ewe flock was awarded to Tony Armour and his daughter Kellie, Glenrock, Bookham with their Johnson Park-blood ewes and third place was the Tallawong/Yarrawonga/Merrignee-blood flock of Graham and Roy Robertson, Lynlee, Bookham.

Tony and Kellie Armour with their second placed Johnson Park-blood, May-shorn ewes.

Tony and Kellie Armour with their second placed Johnson Park-blood, May-shorn ewes.

The Gordon Litchfield Wool Trophy for best ewe team was awarded to the Robertson family.

Graeme, Roy and Sarah Robertson, Lynlee, Bookham with their first olaced ewes in the team section.

Graeme, Roy and Sarah Robertson, Lynlee, Bookham with their first olaced ewes in the team section.

The Grogansworth Merino stud Trophy for best short wool team was awarded to Doug Painting, Deepwater, Bookham for his Bogo-blood, September-shorn ewes.

The Bogo Merino stud Trophy for encouragement was awarded to Bill Mackay and his daughter Tegan, Brookfield, Yass for their flock based on Merryville but with Yarrawonga sires introduced five years ago.

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