The MacRae family’s Eilan Donan Merino stud, Metcalfe, won supreme exhibit of the more than 800 Merino and Poll Merinos entered in the Australian Sheep and Wool Show (ASWS).
Principal Jock MacRae said it was the first time they had won the title at what has become a truly national show.
Mr MacRae said the ram – nicknamed ‘Harvey’ after renowned livestock nutritionist Peter Harvey – had impressed him from a very early age.
He said Harvey was a once in a lifetime animal that combined pure white, crimpy, fine wool with a remarkably correct and large ram.
Its wool measured 18.6 micron in fibre diameter, 3.0M standard deviation (SD), 16.1 per cent co-efficient of variation (CV), 99.6pc comfort factor (CF), 61 for curvature and 17.4 spinning fineness.
The ram won reserve junior champion ram at last year’s ASWS, and was supreme exhibit at Balmoral and Campbell Town shows and will now go on to represent Victoria as the winner of the Victorian Bred Ram of the Year, at the National Merino Sheep Show and Ram Sale, Dubbo, in late August.
Harvey is by One Oak 13004, which the MacRae’s purchased in Adelaide in 2015. One Oak 13004 topped the 2015 North East Sire Evaluation trial for greasy fleece weight, and the winning ram itself topped the 2017 trial for conception.
His dam is a Nerstane blood ewe from the N4636 family that Mr McRae said were known for their rich, productive skins.
Harvey has already been used at the stud at Mr MacRae said its lambs were encouraging him further. He said he planned to retain Harvey in the stud, at this stage.
To be crowned the supreme exhibit, Harvey won over the grand champion ewe – an impressive fine wool exhibit from the Walton family’s Wurrook stud, Rokewood. Its wool measured 19M, 3.0M SD, 15.8pc CV, 99.9pc CF, 56 Curv and 17.8 spinning fineness.
This ewe also was sashed Victorian Bred Ewe of the Year. Wurrook principal Paul Walton said the ewe was from their Merryville Giant family and would lamb from natural joining once or twice before going into an AI program.
In fact, Victorian studs were very well represented in the grand champions. With champion rams of their micron range were with Oakbank (strong), Glendonald (medium), Eilan Donan (fine), Wurrook (superfine) and Rock-Bank (ultrafine); and in the ewes were Glenara (ultrafine), Wurrook (superfine and fine).
Exhibits from other studs to be sashed with grand champion broad ribbons were West Australian studs Lewisdale (fine/medium ram) and St Quentin (strong ewe), NSW’s Nerstane (fine/medium ewe) and South Australia’s East Bungaree (medium ewe).
Wurrook also shared the title of most successful exhibitor, with Alfoxton stud from Armidale, NSW.
Richard Beggs, Nareeb Nareeb stud, Glenthompson said it was the second time in the 29 years of awarding the the Sandford Beggs Perpetual Trophy there had been a tie for this prize.
It was a jam-packed two and a half days of judging, and credit is due to the organisers, stewards and exhibitors for making the condensed timetable possible.
Other notable winners include the McRae family’s St Arnaud-based stud Oakbank that won the Victorian Merino Pair of the Year with a strong wool ram and ewe.
While Oakbank has won the title before, Warren McRae said it was the first time they had done so with a Poll pair. Both sheep from the St Arnaud stud are two years-old, upstanding and with an impressive cover of strong wool.
The ram, which won strong wool ram and reserve champion Poll Merino ram of the show and supreme at the Hay Merino Sheep Show last month, has fleece measurements of 21.6M, 3.1M SD, 14.4pc CV and 99.5pc CF.
It was beaten by the WA entry from St Quentin stud, Nyabing, in the National Finals on Friday night.
For the first time, the champion March shorn pair was awarded on Friday night, alongside the National Pair competition. The McGauchie family, Terrick West Poll Merino stud, Prairie, won the March shorn pair in a unanimous decision by the judges.
Claire McGauchie said the family’s ewe and ram in the winning pair were both from the medium wool section and had cut their teeth the day before the competition.