Big Merino double goes to Glenpaen at ASWS

Big Merino double goes to Glenpaen at ASWS


Sheep
Harry and Rod Miller, Glenpaen Merino stud, Brimpaen, with their supreme Merino exhibit at the Australian Sheep & Wool Show. Photo by Ruby Canning.

Harry and Rod Miller, Glenpaen Merino stud, Brimpaen, with their supreme Merino exhibit at the Australian Sheep & Wool Show. Photo by Ruby Canning.

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The Miller family's Glenpaen stud shut out the opposition in the battle for major Merino honours at this year's Australian Sheep & Wool Show.

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The Miller family's Glenpaen stud in Victoria's southern Wimmera walked off with the three major Merino awards at this year's Australian Sheep & Wool Show at Bendigo.

First their 19.2 micron, 2-year-old Poll Merino ewe marched through the fine/medium classes under the admiring eye of judge, Sydney Lawrie, Collandra North Poll Merino stud, Tumby Bay, South Australia, to take the grand champion sash.

She was then crowned grand champion Merino ewe of the show, an award previously won by Glenpaen in 2015.

Then Glenpaen's grand champion 17.5 micron fine wool Merino ram nudged out the grand champion ultrafine ram exhibited by the Rayner family's Grathlyn stud, Hargraves, NSW, to take the grand champion Merino ram of the show sash.

Speaking on behalf of the judging panel, Bruce Dunbabin, Mayfield stud, Tasmania, said the decision hadn't been unanimous.

Glenpaen's grand champion ewe and ram then did battle for supreme champion of the show.

Stud principal Rod Miller was expecting the ewe to take the award but the majority of the judges gave the ram the nod.

"I think she is a very special ewe," Mr Miller said.

Again the decision wasn't unanimous with judges' spokesman, John Croake, Australian Wool Network, Tamworth, NSW, describing the Glenpaen ewe as "tremendous".

He said the winning ram was "so sweet in the wool" and "magnificently square".

Mr Miller said he arrived at the show knowing the Glenpaen team was "handy" but didn't expect the triumph that unfolded over the next two days.

"It's something I've been dreaming about for a long time," he said.

Mr Miller and wife, Sue, and their children Will, Harry, Baylee and Alanna, run about 700 Merino and Poll Merino stud ewes on their property at Brimpaen, which backs onto the Grampian mountains.

The Millers naturally mate the bulk of their ewes but regularly use outside rams in an artificial insemination program.

Their supreme ram was sired by a homebred ram, Glenpaen Magic, who was by a Nerstane ram.

Their champion ewe was by Willandra GP, a ram that has "bred a lot of good sheep", Mr Miller said.

The Millers are aiming to breed big, growthy, easy-care sheep that cut plenty of wool.

"In our environment the wool has got to be white and waxy and put up with high rainfall, too," Mr Miller said.

"We are up against the Grampian mountains and we get a lot of showers and wet days when the sheep don't dry out so our wool has to be bright and waxy."

Mr Miller and his father, Bill, started the Glenpaen stud in 1989 based on Snowy Plains ewes.

"They were a great foundation, they set us up, they were unbelievable sheep," Mr Miller said.

The Poll Merino stud was founded about six years ago.

The Millers offer about 100 rams at an annual on-property sale.

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