Poll Dorsets top Royal Melbourne sheep show

Poll Dorsets top Royal Melbourne sheep show


Royal Melbourne Show Sheep
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Two Poll Dorset studs from New South Wales took out the top prizes of the Royal Melbourne Show sheep show.

Two Poll Dorset studs from New South Wales took out the top prizes of the Royal Melbourne Show sheep show.

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They were named champion ram and ewe of 573 sheep, that were judged over Saturday and Sunday.

Valley Vista stud principal Andrew Scott was thrilled to win their first interbreed champion at the Royal Melbourne with their top ewe.

But when it came to award the interbreed champion ram, the crowd – and participants in the lineup of 16 breed champion rams – held their breathe when the result came back as a tie.

The six judges individually placed their rams and when the scores were calculated, two rams came back with 19 points – the White Suffolk ram exhibited by the Kyle family’s Ashley Park stud, Bairnsdale, and Poll Dorset exhibited by the Frost family’s Hillden stud, Bannister, NSW.

The stewarding team called Ian Bucknall to break the tie. Mr Bucknall was a renowned breeder in his own right and had Yaralla Poll Dorset stud, before he sold it in 2006; he served as a Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) board member for 21 years and he judged many major shows in Australia and overseas.

His vote saw the Hillden ram sashed champion interbreed ram.

Brothers Anthony and James Frost had enormous smiles on their faces when their August 2016-drop ram was announced the winner.

Their team of seven rams was a late entry to Melbourne and Anthony said they wanted to return to Melbourne after getting reserve champion ram last year.

This year’s champion was also champion ram at the Australasian Dorset Championship in Bendigo last weekend, supreme at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show (ASWS) also in Bendigo in July, and won its class at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

When it topped the rams at the Dorset Championship last weekend, it was in wool, and the brothers said showing it bare shorn this weekend was a great way to fight back at comments, including some made online, that showing sheep in wool could hide faults.

“We know ours will shear up, because they do if the shape is genuinely there,” James said.

Anthony said showing Poll Dorsets in wool was important to them because it was another way the sheep could show true Dorset type. He said a nice downs type wool was great for sucker lambs’ skin and helped to keep them fresher.

At the Royal Melbourne Show, the ram weighed 127.5kg and scanned 9mm fat, 51mm muscle depth, 104mm muscle width and 40.8sqcm muscle area.

It was by a Tattykeel 70-12, which is sire that goes back to a Hillden ram and has bred well for the Frost family’s stud by producing offspring with true to type Dorset heads, well muscled and structurally correct. The ram will be joined naturally in November and James said they would market its semen.

While the points were being calculated for the champion interbreed ewe, judge Graeme Hibbard, Deepdene Poll Dorset stud, Narrandera, NSW, shared his pick.

As with the overall judging panel, he put the Poll Dorset ewe first and said it was “a magnificent sheep” and had meat right through carcarse while maintaining its femininity.

Mr Scott said it was the first time for about seven years Valley Vista had a team at Melbourne, and during the about seven years they showed before then, he used to “idolise the guys who won the interbreed”.

“Its the prestige of the Royal Melbourne Show,” Mr Scott said.

The ewe had already amassed the supreme ewe title at Canberra Royal and continued to win her class at Sydney and the ASWS. It also won the wool ewe class at the Australasian Dorset Championship last weekend.

Mr Scott said the April 16 drop ewe would go into ET program probably end of November. She is by home bred sire nicknamed ‘Fife’ (following the Valley Vista tradition of naming keeper rams after Brownlow medallists), who was supreme Poll Dorset at the ASWS a few years ago.

Other interbreed winners included the supreme exhibit of the heritage breeds was awarded to the Southdown ram, exhibited by the Ireland family’s Romale stud at Bunding.

The two year-old ram of New Zealand bloodlines weighed 144.5kg, and had already been used wth success in the stud, according to Rosyln Ireland.

New Zealand judge Kim Ridgen said the ram’s structure impressed her.

“It will breed some magnificent progeny,” Ms Ridgen said.

The White Suffolks’ team won the ram trifecta (three rams of the breed, which can be owned by different studs) by by a margin of one point, with Hampshire Downs in second.

Sires progeny group was awarded to Bron Ellis’s Sweetfield Corriedale stud, Mt Moriac.

Judge Ian Starritt, Womboota Pastoral, Womboota, NSW, said the competition was very tough and he put the Corriedales first because of their eveness of fleece and carcase, structure, true representation of the breed.

The breeders group was awarded to Wollondale Hampshire Down stud, Wollondale Pastoral Co, Towrang, NSW. With the the Sweetfield Corriedale group only one point behind.

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