WA Merinos set pace for Sheep Expo

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Bob GarnantThe West Australian
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The success of WA Merino breeders at the recent Australian Sheep and Wool Show in Bendigo, Victoria, is a strong indicator of the quality to be presented at the Rabobank WA Sheep Expo & Sale to be held at Katanning on August 17 and 18.

Some of the strong contenders vying for top awards at the Expo will include a four-tooth fine-medium wool Poll Merino ram, from the Lewisdale stud, Wickepin.

At Bendigo, this Lewisdale exhibit was awarded two of the 18 grand champion broad ribbons which narrowed the show’s 860 entries down to the final judging of the supreme exhibit — won by a fine Merino ram from the Ellan Donan stud, of Victoria.

The Lewisdale ram was sired by Rhamily Benny out of a Western Purple ewe and measured 20.8 microns with a 99.4 per cent comfort factor.

Lewisdale studmaster Ray Lewis is no stranger to the show circuit as he counts back the years to 2006 when his ram Lewisdale Magic was sashed his most recent supreme exhibit at the then Rabobank Katanning Sheep Show.

“It takes years to breed a top award-winning ram and I am looking forward to this year’s Expo with enthusiasm,” he said.

Other WA studs awarded top grand champion ribbons at Bendigo included St Quentin stud, of Nyabing, with their strong wool Merino ewe, and Seymour Park stud, of Highbury, exhibiting a March-shorn Poll Merino ram.

The Crosby family, of St Quentin, earlier in the judging paired their ewe with a strong wool Merino ram to take out the national pair competition over entries from five other Australian States.

The prestigious win was a first for St Quentin and followed WA’s success from last year when Navanvale stud, of Williams, secured the national pair title.

St Quentin’s ewe was ET-bred by St Quentin’s sire 382 and the ram was ET-bred, sired by East Mundalla Jonty 137 and out of St Quentin 382, a ewe which was sashed supreme exhibit at the 2013 Wagin Woolorama.

The Gooding family, of East Mundalla, Tarin Rock, exhibited Jonty at the 2011 Australian sheep and wool show winning their first supreme title at Bendigo.

Mitchell Crosby, of St Quentin, said it was a great honour to win the pair competition and validates the stud’s breeding program of producing heavy cutting, good white wools on big frame sheep.

Mr Crosby said he was looking forward to Katanning in which both ram and ewe will be exhibited.

But the depth of quality from WA studs keeps going and Seymour Park’s young ram was well decorated at Bendigo.

Awarded no less than six broad ribbons, the 20.6 micron fine-medium Poll, sired by Seymour Park George, which was sashed supreme exhibit at the 2013 Rabobank Katanning Sheep Show, made a big impression at Bendigo.

After taking out the junior champion award, the Seymour Park entry was sashed grand champion March-shorn ram of the show.

Seymour Park stud principal Clinton Blight, of Highbury, said he would exhibit the young Poll at the Expo before offering it at the stud sale.

Following the Bendigo sheep show, 108 Merino and Poll Merino lots ewe were offered for sale with 89 sold to an equal top-price of $32,000 three times and an average price of $5556.

Top price honours went to three studs including East Mundalla, which made its debut at the sale.

The young East Mundalla medium wool Poll Merino ram, carrying its lambs tooth, was ET bred by Collinsville Imperial 141 and out of Masterbuilt 316-111 and sold to first-time buyer Rodger Mathews, of Borambi Merino stud, NSW.

The other two equal top-price rams were offered by the Merryville stud and the Langdene stud, both located in NSW.

In private sale negotiations, the Button family, of Manunda stud, Tammin, sold their medium wool Poll Merino ram for $25,000 and the Darijon stud, of Narrogin, sold a medium wool Merino ram for $10,000.

Many of the Bendigo star attractions will be available to inspect at the 2017 Narrogin Long Wool Day to be held at the Narrogin Ram Pavilion on Friday, August 4, from 10am to 5pm.

Sheep and wool producers will want to mark the Rabobank WA Sheep Expo & Sale on their calendar for August when the best WA sheep are judged for top awards.

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