RECORD high prices for quality wool and prime lambs will ensure continued confidence when the sheep and wool industry comes together at this year’s Australian Sheep and Wool Show.
Now in its 141st year, the event will be held from July 20 to 22 at the Prince of Wales Showgrounds in Bendigo.
Australian Sheep Breeders Association chief executive officer Margot Falconer said this year’s show promised to be the biggest and best yet.
“The interest in this year’s show from breeders and industry exhibitors has been the highest I have experienced and online ticket sales are already ahead of last year so I am anticipating a great show attendance,” she said.
Now the largest event of its type in the world, nearly 3000 sheep from five states will be competing for broadribbon honours.
The champions of each breed will be judged to determine the Supreme Prime Lamb, Supreme Long Wool, and Supreme British Breed Group.
This year, the show’s feature breed is the Merino. Renowned for its superior wool quality and production, it will be a celebration of the breed which has played such an important role in the foundation of the Australian sheep and wool industry.
Antwerp’s Mertex stud principal Tim Joregensen said he was looking forward to this year’s event.
“It’s always good to catch up with all the other breeders and see what they’ve been up to,” he said. “It’s the biggest event in the country and we can’t miss it.”
He said the stud was showing a number of different sheep this year.
“We plan to take 16 white suffolks and 12 texels,” he said.
“We’re pretty happy with the team we’ve got together this year, so we’re hoping for some wins.”
At last year’s event, the stud walked away with a number of prizes. It won supreme white suffolk exhibit; grand champion ram; senior champion ram; first sires progeny group; first group one ram and two ewes; first April drop ram; first May drop ram; first and third June drop ram; second and third wooly ram; and first pair of ewes.
Its texel sheep also won reserve champion ram; reserve champion ewe; first sires progeny group; and most successful texel exhibitor.
Judging of Australia’s best ram and ewe pair will be on display on the Friday with the champions from each state vying for the privilege of being named the national winner.
The 19th annual multi-vendor Merino ram sale, the first for the season’s circuit, will be held on Sunday, July 22, offering huge exposure for stud breeders. The Supreme Dorper sale is also held on the Sunday.
Always a crowd-pleaser, the show will host the Central Victorian Yard Dog Championships, while the shearing competition has attracted entries from throughout Victoria and interstate.
“These events are always well-attended and are a vital element of the sheep industry,” Mrs Falconer said.
Now in its 10th year, the Women Of Wool lunch will be held on Friday, July 20, and acknowledges the contribution of women to the wool industry. Rural Bank managing director Alexandra Gartmann will be the master of ceremonies for the event which celebrates the 20 year relationship between Australia and China in the wool industry.
The interest in this year’s show from breeders and industry exhibitors has been the highest I have experienced and online ticket sales are already ahead of last year so I am anticipating a great show attendance.Margot Falconer
With renewed interest in wool, this year’s National Woolcraft competition has attracted more than 300 entries and the competition winners can be viewed at daily fashion parades.
The show features five pavilions of of wool craft displays and demonstrations, alongside bespoke yarns and woollen fashion items.
Mrs Falconer said the Woolworths Lambition industry-first event will be an exciting addition to this year’s Annual Breeders Dinner.
Held at Fortuna Villa in Bendigo, the night includes the presentation of the National Fleece Awards and a sumptuous eight-course degustation dinner. Producers will also have the opportunity to hear from several guest speakers who will outline the future of the Australian lamb industry.
The Bendigo Festival of Lamb will also highlight prime lamb. Visitors will be taken on a culinary journey with daily cooking demonstrations and tastings while Bob the Butcher will provide a master class on how to break down a lamb carcase into primary, secondary and restaurant cuts.
For the third year in a row, a cattle precinct has been included which aims to showcase a range of breeds and studs.
“Many sheep producers also produce cattle and this initiative will highlight the cattle industry’s latest innovations and genetic excellence.”
Mrs Falconer said visitors to the show will also be interested in the extensive trade exhibitions which will showcase the latest sheep industry innovations and technologies.
The Australian Corriedale Association will host the World Corriedale Congress on Wednesday July 18 to coincide with the show. This has attracted international breeders, along with national stud and industry experts, who will discuss the latest research for the Corriedale breed.
The industry’s best young operators will also gather at the Young Stud Masters’ Muster, held on the Friday night of the show. Sponsored by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria, Australian Wool Innovation and Fairfax Agricultural Media, the hotly-contested Young Champions Award will be presented on the night.
Interest continues to grow each year in the show’s youth component and junior competitions and Mrs Falconer said there had been significant investment in educational and technology seminars and demonstrations.
The new Careers and Technology hub at the show is aimed at encouraging more young people to take up a career in agriculture, while the Future of Farming series also continues, with a dynamic youth and schools program planned involving more than 45 schools. This includes junior judging, schools competition and the Ross McKenzie Fellowship seminar program which is held on Friday, July 20.
“We are really trying to encourage more youth involvement because they are the future of farming.”
For more information about this year’s event, head to the Australian Sheep and Wool Show website.