Sash triumph a surprise win
A niche Wheatbelt Merino breeding enterprise has been awarded one of WA’s most coveted wool sashes.
Cuballing builder and hobby sheep breeder Ben Kittow overcame 21 other entrants to snare the 2019 Newdegate Machinery Field Days Fleece Competition champion title, after winning the medium-wool division.
The fleece was grown at the BK Constructions-owned Merino breeding enterprise Brundell Station, near Cuballing, using Narrogin-based Seymour Park Poll Merino Stud’s blood line.
BK Constructions partner Carlo Varone, also a mixed grain-sheep farmer south-east of Hyden, said taking out the medium-wool category was recognition of the operation’s breeding program.
While acknowledging all fleeces entered into this year’s Dyson Jones-run competition were of high quality, he said claiming the champion fleece sash was a bonus.
It is very good to get a win because a lot of hard work has gone into it — it’s very pleasing,
“There are plenty of good fleeces out there, as we saw here, so I think we’re on the right path.”
The result comes after Mr Varone won the competition’s champion sash last year with wool produced from his family’s 7000-head Merino flock, near Hyden.
Newdegate sheep producer Kim Newman was awarded the super-fine sash at this year’s event, while fellow Newdegate woolgrower Geoff Richardson won the fine category.
Mr Newman has been farming alongside his father Robert for more than a decade, with the pair having success using Keetlen Valley stud’s blood lines to breed their flock of 3700 Merino ewes.
The 32-year-old said the super-fine sash was a testament to the Newman’s bloodline selection, aided by Keetlen Valley owner Keith Hams.
“I was a bit unsure if we’d have a win,” he said. “I’m stoked we did but, it is always good to get some recognition and we’re really happy with it.”
Mr Richardson is running a flock of 2500 head across 3400ha, after reducing his sheep numbers amid tough seasonal conditions.
After breeding through Wagin-based Belmont Park Poll Merino Stud’s rams for more than 40 years, Mr Richardson welcomed the fine-wool category victory.
“We usually produce a medium wool, but it has been a bit finer this year because of the last two seasons,” he said.
“I was a bit surprised with the result because there was plenty of good wool entered and the champion was a good fleece.”
Fleeces were judged across seven categories — character, handle, colour, length, soundness, evenness and density.
Dyson Jones will donate proceeds from the sale of fleeces entered into the competition to the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
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