Roseville Park Merino stud has taken out the pen of five competition at Sheepvention in Hamilton, but the win is bittersweet.
It comes as the Dubbo, NSW, stud deals with the drought currently crippling thousands of farmers across the eastern seaboard.
And the stud’s Matthew Coddington said it follows what’s been a bumpy few years.
“In 2016, we had floods, so we couldn’t put on a crop, and last year the rain mirrored that of 1992, which is a year we benchmark against for lack of rain, and this year we’ve only had half the amount of rain as that year,” Mr Coddington said.
He said since May, they have been spending on average $15,000 a week on hay and grain.
They have also been forced to destock members of the flock they could not afford to feed.
But the unfavourable seasonal conditions didn’t get in the way of the stud’s pen of five success, beating out more than 45 other entries, all of which are to be offered for sale on Tuesday.
Judge Phil Schultz, Techwool Trading, said Roseville Park’s entry was the most even pen in the shed.
“They had great size about them and a uniformity of staple,” Mr Schultz said.
He said it was a tough decision between Roseville Park’s entry and the pen of five by Nerstane Merino stud, Woolbrook, NSW, who took out the reserve championship.
“Nerstane’s entries were also very uniform in size, but probably didn’t have the same conformation as Roseville Park’s,” he said.
Nerstane’s Hamish McLaren said his pen reflected what the stud is striving to produce, productive sheep with a lot of good wool on them.
Mr McLaren said winning taking out the reserve championship was reflective of the evenness of the flock.
“We want to produce sheep that are similar, a commercial buyer wants to look at your sheep and know that they’ll produce a consistent type,” he said.
Moorundie Poll Merino stud, Keith, SA, took out third place, while Belbourie Merino and Poll Merino stud, Marnoo, took out fourth, and Borambil Merino stud, Corowa, NSW, won the fifth place ribbon.
Mr Schultz commended all of the top entries on their evenness.
“In some entries, there might have been two or three good sheep, while the rest weren’t as good, but in the few entries that came out on top, all five were strong sheep,” he said.