Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) is proud to support the many ewe competitions around the state, according to AWI CEO Stuart McCullough.
"Affectionately known as ewe comps, these fixtures are much more than a chance to have flocks judged, but also a great community event for sheep and wool growers to catch up, have a yarn and interact with each other," Mr McCullough said.
"If you have never experienced a comp you are missing out. You really get to see the incredible hard work, ingenuity and planning required to deliver high quality results in what are often challenging conditions.
"Australian wool is such a remarkable fibre and ewe comps are a vital part of setting high standards, but also for growers to share knowledge."
AWI regularly supplies woollen garments for fashion parades, helps with sponsoring coach hire and provides support with the breeders dinner at the conclusion of the day. At each stop the competing grower is asked to address the crowd, explaining his endeavours and target areas, then there is an open forum that enables the judges, selected from around Australia, and in some cases overseas, to assess and then voice their view of the flock, and possible improvements or slight changes that could be of benefit.
"The value of such forums can never be underestimated and it can be seen that the popularity of such events is growing," Mr McCullough said. "Whether it is the 92-year-old Berridale ewe competition (the oldest in Australia) or the newest at Walcha held for the first time earlier this month, ewe comps are here to stay and AWI is right behind them."
A member of the AWI consultative committee representing ewe competitions, Tom Kirk, Baldry, believes the main benefit is not so much the competition as it is in the field day concept where exhibitors and attendees gain feedback.
"We see there's plenty of information between growers and as you go between properties each person attending sees the good and the not so good parts of a flock," Mr Kirk said.
"But wherever a ewe comp starts up, the quality of the sheep improves inside of 10 years unbelievably."
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