About 40 spectators from across NSW and even Victoria attended the Lake Cargelligo Maiden Merino Ewe Competition on Friday February 3 viewing the flocks of the six entrants.
The competition was judged by Spike Orr, Gundarimbah Merino stud, Parkes, James Osborne, sheep and wool specialist with AWN, Deniliquin, and junior judge Baylee Stapleton, overseer and stud sales assistant, Pooginook Merino stud, Jerilderie.
Taking out the top spot was Emma Northey, Millview, Tullibigeal, with her flock of Belswick-blood ewes which were classed by Michael Elmes. The flock had a micron of 20.5 with an average wool cut of nine kilograms per head, a 122 per cent lambing rate, and a yield of 69pc.
Mr Orr said the ewes "are a line of exceptional young ewes that would be very sought after in any sale yard in the country".
Entering the competition for the first time, Miss Nortey said she was very happy with the results.
Having a passion since she was a little girl, she pestered her father to have sheep of her own. When she was about 17, the family drafted off about 127 ewes from their flock for Emma to begin with.
"I run them on my own and I pick all my own rams, they are run completely separate" Miss Northey said.
Growing her flock rapidly, Miss Northey had about 600 Merino ewes joined to Merino rams, about 350 Merino ewe lambs, and a small number of classed out ewes that were joined to terminal rams to put her total around 1000 head in the flock.
She said when it came to animal selection, she and her father were "two peas in a pod" and had recently changed bloodlines to the Belswick sheep.
"Five to six years ago, we changed bloodlines and it was not economical for dad to go and buy 50 to 60 new rams. So we joined a quarter of dads rams to the Belswick bloodlines, and joined all of mine.
"My flock at the start was a bit of a trial for the new bloodline and it turned out really well.
Looking at the traits in her sheep, Miss Norhey said she "can't really get them any bigger than what they are but basically maintaining their body size, frame, and composition".
"The conformation is the most important thing so you keep on top of that," she said.
Miss Northey said she would like to bring her flock down half a micron too.
"The wools with our previous bloodlines just weren't good enough, they were too flat skinned and didn't have enough character and nourishment for what we need to run in this country to keep the dirt out," Miss Northey said.
"When we started buying rams, we had to go in pretty hard to try and see some results pretty quickly and you can see that it is through the flock now that we can start dialing back a bit on taking the stronger type of wool," she said.
The Merino wethers born on-farm were put in to a feedlot system and sold at about 10 to 11 months, before they cut their teeth. The ewes that were culled were put out with White Suffolk rams for a crossbred lamb which was then also put in to a feedlot and sold.
"The culls ewes are brilliant ewes and they still have really good lambs," Miss Northey said.
Miss Northey said she would like to continue to grow her flock and purchase a block of land in the area.
Coming in as the competitions runner-up was Justin and Natalie McCarten of Rankin Springs with their One Oak blood ewes which were classed by Michael Elmes.
The McCarten's ewes had a micron of 20.1, 7kg average wool cut per head, yield of 66pc, and a lambing percentage of 105.
The judges said they were impressed with the big heavy barrel ewes and their ability to cut plenty of high quality wool.
Third place was awarded to Maree Stockman with her Lachlan-blood ewes which had a micron of 19, wool cut of 8.5kg, yield of 62pc, and lambing of 108pc. According to the judges, the ewes had white, high quality wool on great skin with fantastic structure and carcase.
Maree Stockman also won the People's Choice award.
Betty and Philip Hall received the Encouragement Award for their line of Avenel-blood ewes. Classed by Colin McCrabb, the ewes had a micron of 19.4, wool cut of 5.2kg per head with six monthly shearing, and a yield of 75pc.