Merino nous pays off for Hoggs

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Bob GarnantCountryman

The Wagin Woolorama grand champion Merino fleece was awarded to first-time winners Chris and Jackie Hogg and family, of Navanvale stud, Williams.

The Hoggs' policy of growing white and productive wool paid off when judges awarded the family's medium wool fleece entry highest marks, scoring 92 points out of 100, to take out the TB Scanlon trophy, sponsored by Queensland Cotton.

Judge Tim Burgess said the fleece, that was earlier judged champion medium wool, showed superior character with its well defined crimp and evenness of uniformity.

"It excelled in bloom," Mr Burgess said.

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Mr Hogg said the 11.5kg, 18 micron fleece was shorn from a Merino ewe that was judged grand champion at the 2011 Katanning Sheep Show.

"The fleece win made for another top award for our stud," he said.

Navanvale stud was registered in 1998, but the commercial flock goes back to Mr Hogg's grandfather, George, who farmed Merinos 90 years prior. From there, the tradition continued through his son, Barry.

Today the 5000-strong adult sheep flock is looked after by Mr Hogg and his son Mitchell, with grandson Javier, 21 months, next in the succession line.

"We have introduced Roseville and Woodyarrup blood into the flock," Mr Hogg said.

Wool steward Howard Ward said wool entry numbers were similar to last year and it was the first time in 10 years that the very top scores in the open class were from medium wool entries.

Placing second in the medium class was Eungai, with a score of 91 out of 100 - second highest of all entries.

Mr Burgess said it was very close between the top two mediums with the 15kg Eungai fleece just shy of the brilliance of colour when compared to the Navanvale entry.

But there was more for Peter and James MacLagan, of Eungai stud, Miling, who stacked other classes with fleece entries and in doing so, took out the champion strong wool section with another top score of 90 points.

"It was marked with top scores in every category," Mr Burgess said.

In the fine wool class, another high scoring entry of 90 points was awarded the champion sash to the Angenup stud, of Kojonup.

The judge said the Angenup fleece had superior length of staple and showed excellent uniformity.

Stuart Rintoul, of Tilba Tilba stud, Williams, displayed the champion superfine fleece scoring 86 points.

Mr Burgess said the fleece was true to style and wool type.

"It had outstanding length for a superfine fleece," he said.

Tilba Tilba accumulated a total of three open class wins in both fine and superfine.

In the commercial non-stud section, the WA College of Agriculture, Denmark, won six classes to take out the most points in the wool section, which was sponsored by Elders.

Commercial producers Alan and George Hambly, of Brookton, repeated their superfine champion win of last year in the non-stud section which was sponsored by Viterra.

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