Jamestown hosted a successful inaugural Northern SA Merino Expo last week, with organisers and participating sheep studs already committing to a follow-up event for next year.
In all, 20 Merino studs brought about 300 sheep to Victoria Park to display their genetics ahead of the spring sale season, and a $5000 feature prize for the Michell Wool Pen of Three Hogget Rams competition attracted strong support.
Organising committee members Tom Ashby, North Ashrose, Gulnare; Greg Andrews, Hamilton Run, Jamestown; Stacey Bradtke, Bradfield, Mannanarie; and Ian Bradtke said the event had exceeded their expectations.
Three competition events were held, with the first judging for SA Merino Champion Hogget Ram attracting 28 entries.
“Outside of Adelaide, that’s probably the biggest single class of judging we’ve seen,” Mr Andrews said.
“We had a lot of positive comments on the event with stud breeders saying they would definitely bring their sheep back again next year and the same from our trade displays.
“I think having a bigger site to be able to display sheep was a huge bonus for the studs, as well as offering smaller sites for breeders who had already had their on-property sales and just wanted to bring along a couple of rams, just their keepers or Adelaide Show sale rams.”
The inception of the expo came from the four local breeders who saw an opportunity to bring studs from across South Australia together in one, central location in the lead up to the traditional spring sale season.
“Having it at this time of the year when everybody’s top hoggets are ready, prior to the sale season, everyone has the numbers to be able to bring along a good showing of sheep,” Mr Andrews said.
“The timing is the big drawcard, and having it now also means we can fit in with the South East Field Days which are held mid-July, and the West Coast Field Days at Wudinna in early July.
“We haven’t had a centralised display site in the Mid North, and we opened the event up to all SA studs to make a large expo to showcase the participating stud genetics.
“It was a good opportunity for our commercial clientele to come along and have a look.”
News of the cancellation of the Adelaide Show had broken on the morning of the northern expo.
While stud breeders anticipated the continuation of the inaugural Adelaide Show ram sale, no show competition as such planned for the major annual event consequently made last Thursday’s Jamestown event even more pivotal for breeders wanting to display their stud genetics.
Collinsville Stud Merinos won both the Michell Wool Pen of Three Hogget Rams and Merino SA State Champion Ram titles, and placed third in the SA Merino Champion Hogget Ram competitions on the day.
Results: Pen of Three Hogget Rams: first place Collinsville Stud Merinos (Hallett), second place White River (Port Lincoln), third place Moorundie Park Merino and Poll Merino Stud (Brinkworth).
Merino SA State Champion Ram: first place Collinsville Stud Merinos, second place Nyowee (Balaklava). SA Merino Champion Hogget Ram: first place Orrie Cowie Merino and Poll Merino Stud (Warooka), second place White River Merinos and Poll Merinos (Port Lincoln), third place Collinsville Stud Merinos (Hallett).