Strong interest in Merinos at Wagin Woolorama

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Cally DupeCountryman

Interest in the Merino section at Wagin Woolorama is as strong as ever, with every sponsor of the event coming back on board this year and stud entries flowing in thick and fast.

Merino head steward Peter Foley said the event had retained all of its sponsors this year, with Nutrien upgrading to become a platinum sponsor by upping its cash contribution.

He said the committee expected to receive about 200 entries and welcomed “as many exhibitors as possible” to the prestigious competition.

Mr Foley said Woolorama had revamped its $40,000 prize pool in recent years, going from “sandwich makers” and “farm tools” in earlier times to cash and bigger prizes.

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He said about 40 per cent of the prizes were cash, at about $16,000, and the rest were large-scale prizes specifically for farmers — the biggest prize a $7000 quad bike.

“Cash is fantastic for us because it means our office is not overflowing with stuff to give to winners,” Mr Foley joked.

“Some of that money no doubt ends up being spent at the bar or elsewhere at the event, which is just great for Wagin Woolorama itself.”

Mr Foley said he was looking forward to the new 4Farmers Supreme Animal of the Show Award, which he said “wouldn’t be too serious” during its first year.

Mr Foley said the event would this year draw on local judges for the Merino section because WA’s border controls meant it was difficult to fly judges in from the east.

“This gives us a really good chance to give some WA judges a chance,” he said.

Mr Foley said youngsters would also be given the opportunity to work as associate judges on the day, but exactly who would be doing that task was yet to be finalised.

In the British and Australasian Sheep Shed, 11 breeds will be judged, including Suffolk, Ile de France, Poll Dorset, Border Leicester and Dorper.

Each category champion will then go head-to-head for the title of supreme champion sheep.

The Crosby family, of St Quentin stud at Nyabing, won the supreme grand champion sash at last year’s Wagin Woolorama with their strong wool, two-tooth Merino ewe.

A young Poll Dorset ram from Shirlee Downs stud won the top spot in the interbreed competition after standing side-by-side with a Poll Dorset ewe from Kendenup-based Brimfield at the end of the British and Australasian breeds competition.

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