A South Gippsland sheep farmer who started breeding Wiltshire Horns less than a decade ago says she felt 'nostalgic' returning to the Melbourne Royal Show on Thursday.
Jill Noble, Hallston Valley Farm, Hallston, won the supreme Wiltshire Horn exhibit with a ewe and ram lamb at foot as well as the grand champion ram with a rising two-year-old sire.
Ms Noble was the only Wiltshire Horn breeder to feature at the show this year, but said the opportunity to showcase the shedding meat sheep breed was still surreal.
"It's just wonderful to be back at the Royal Melbourne and to have Wiltshire Horns here after they were the feature breed at the last show in 2019 is quite nostalgic," she said.
"It was lovely to have great spring-season lambs after a very wet winter.
"The ewe is rising two years old with a ram lamb that the judge said had great sire appeal."
The stud plans to retain the prize-winning ewe in its South Gippsland stud, while the ram had a peculiar history after it was passed in at auction last year.
"I had him in the sale last year with a reserve and nobody placed a bid on him so I was quite pleased to win the competition with him," Ms Noble said.
"We have an on-farm sale on October 31 and we also participate in the annual Wiltshire Horn stud auction at the Bendigo Agricultural Show on October 25."
Ms Noble said she was relatively new to farming and bought her Hallston property about eight years ago.
"We bought a couple of Wiltshire Horns to start with," she said.
"They were really hard to get to start with and we had to get them in from South Australia.
"We've since started the stud and got genetics from all across South Australia, NSW and Victoria."
She said the stud based its genetics heavily on O'Loghlin Wiltshire Horn Sheep stud, Deniliquin, NSW.
"We're really a sister stud to the NSW operation," Ms Noble said.
"Jason O'Loghlin, the stud principal, has been a really big help to our stud and is an indication of the support we've had from Jason during that time.
"A mentor is really important to have when you're breeding anything."
Wiltshire Horn judge Tim Fincham, Fincham's Burando Southdown stud, Yea, said the quality of the Hallston stud was second to none.
"The supreme exhibit was an outstanding ewe and ram which both had very good legs and were both very well balanced," he said.
"Normally rams dominate these competitions, but I couldn't fault the ewe or its ram.
"It's hard to get an outstanding ewe with an outstanding ram, but it was done here."