THIRTEEN sheep producers from throughout the Gunning region opened their gates last Friday for the 2021 ANZ Agribusiness Gunning Flock Ewe Competition.
Guy Evans of Tara Park Merinos, Boroowa, returned to judge for a second year and was joined by fellow judge Steve Ridley, Elders livestock manager Goulburn, to assess the entrants.
First place was awarded to the Basnett family of Naamaroo Pastoral Pty Ltd, Gunning, with their Bogo blood ewes.
Annual entrants in the competition that is now in its seventh year, the Basnetts displayed 1184 August-born maiden ewes that were shorn last April.
They were classed on body and wool types by Dean Lawton of Lawton Wool and Lamb, and Phil Butt of Butt Livestock and Property, who had classed out 15pc.
Last year they joined 3600 ewes to Merino rams to result in 2880 lambs marked (80 per cent) and 2850 lambs weaned (79pc).
Return judge Mr Evans said the Naamaroo ewes stood up as good as last year when they placed second.
"They are a good even type of heavier cutting ewes," he said. "They are long muzzled, long bodied and I like the width over the hips of these ewes."
Talking about the serious numbers the Basnetts displayed, fellow judge Mr Ridley said they were a very well presented line of sheep that were "big, long and stretchy".
The maiden ewes will be joined in mid-March to lamb mid-August.
"Traditionally we join on the first of March, but we've pushed it back two weeks to try and avoid the early August weather events that might affect lambing," Campbell Basnett said.
This year the Basnetts will also trial vaccinating their maiden ewes with the Campylobacter vaccine at the start and end of joining.
"The aim is to avoid abortion and get more lambs on the ground" he said.
"Our scanned to marked percentages in maidens drops and I don't see dead lambs on the ground or problems at lambing so they must be aborting during pregnancy. We will trial it with this years maidens see how it goes."
Last year through the drought the Basnetts had 4200 ewes locked up in containment lots for three months.
They were locked up in six drought lot pens, 800 head in five pens plus an empty feed pen, for three months, and fed a barley ration with straw as roughage and salt and lime supplement, Mr Basnett said.
Fed 3.5 kilograms per ewe per week, the ration was a bit better than maintenance and cost $19.10/ewe for the three month period. This included feed, labour and drought lot set up costs.
"Other than dust management and managing shy feeders differently, I would do it the same way again," he said.
"Losses were less than one per cent. They were joined in the containment lots for the first cycle. It is a six week joining so the first three they were in the drought lots, and the last three were after they were released."
The Basnetts choose to invest more into their weaners.
"I like to invest in the weaners, they are in the system for five to six years so we prefer to spend more to get them over 25kg so put more time and effort into them.
"They are the best genetics on the place, and increasing the inputs into weaners is worth it in the long run in my opinion"
"Once weaned late in the Spring we feed them up to 3kg/week during the summer feed gap. Barley is currently worth $230 per tonne so whether supplement feeding them 2kg or 3kg per head it is only an extra $3 per weaner to feed them a bigger ration through summer which serves them well over time"
The Basnetts have been on Bogo blood for 10 years, including a mix of Bogo rams and station bred rams through artificial insemination programs with Bogo.
Second place went to previous competition winners Matt and Rebecca Hewitt of Allamby, with their Stockton/Tallawong/Yarrawonga blood ewes.
Both these flocks will now go on to compete in the Southern Tablelands Flock Ewe Championships on Friday, March 19. They will be judged against the winners and runners up from Crookwell, Boorowa and Taralga.
Third place was presented to Bernie and Sarah Brynes of Fairview, with their Tallawong/Hazeldean/Merryville blood ewes.
Fourth place went to Greg and Trish Hallam of Lexo Pty Ltd, Springfield, with their Boxleigh Park/Blyth blood ewes.
Fifth place was Dean Lawton of Lawton Wool and Lamb, Bobs Run, with his Billa Burra Burra blood ewes.
The AWN Future Development Award went to Peter Foley and family of Warlpark Pty Ltd, Fairview, with their Fairview blood ewes.
People's choice award went to overall second placegetters Matt and Rebecca Hewitt of Allamby.
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