In April this year it was thought no 2020 Ekka ribbons would see the light of day, but Queensland's wool producers have defied the odds.
A 19.6 micron fleece shown by the Hacker family's Roselea poll Merino stud at Muckadilla was judged the 2020 grand champion fleece when a revamped wool competition was held at Mitchell on Monday.
The 12.6kg fleece, from a ram who is the son of the 2016 Ekka reserve grand champion fleece winner, was one of 79 shown, largely from Queensland studs, at the first ever RNA wool competition to be held outside Brisbane.
The line-up was a major organisational coup for steward Bruce Lines, thanks to the number of growers who either didn't ask classers to select fleeces for competition this year or who pressed potential entries along with their clip when the cancellation of the Ekka was announced, due to COVID-19.
"The challenging thing was getting enough fleeces, but I can set up anywhere," Mr Lines said. "Wool may as well come here as anywhere."
The win gave Roselea its third RNA wool competition grand championship in five years, with wins in 2016, 2018 and 2020.
"We've always tried to breed heavy cutting white wools," stud principal Peter Hacker said.
His father won 10 RNA grand championships between 1960 and 1988, with fleeces from horned Merinos.
Peter's wins have been with poll Merinos, which he said demonstrated the great improvements that have been made with their wool in the past 20 years.
This year's fleece, from a medium wool ram, had a yield of 72 per cent and was 9mm long.
Fred Hacker, Derwent Park, Muckadilla, showed the champion fine wool flock fleece and the champion Queensland-grown flock fleece, while Morven graziers Peter and Marie Crook-King, Glenorie, won both the medium wool and strong wool flock championships.
Nutrien's western NSW wool area manager Frank Roberts came up from Dubbo to judge the competition and said it had been an impressive lineup of wool.
"Its very competitive nature showed the closeness of the competition," he said.
Assisting him was Queensland's 2019 wool young judge winner, Angus Hacker, who is Peter and Linda's son.
Also crossing the border for the Mitchell event was Chris Clonan from Alfoxton Merinos, Armidale, who judged the revised State Sheep Show held in conjunction with the wool judging.
The majority of the broad ribbons presented were won by the Brumpton family's Mt Ascot Merino stud, which hosted the day at its new shearing shed at Baynham near Mitchell.
The stud claimed the honours for Queensland Ewe of the Year, Queensland Ram of the Year, and Supreme Merino exhibit.