Considering the wool pavilion was packed to the rafters with 220 fleeces, the most seen for many years, that was no mean feat.
“This is a big boost,” Julie said. “It keeps you interested.”
Like most in the central west, drought has taken its toll on the Maxwells, who’ve not been able to restock at all.
All the cattle they own are on agistment, leaving just 1000 breeding ewes on the property west of Isisford.
Julie said they’d been preg tested and were all lambing, which was another thing to look forward to.
The Maxwells breed their own rams – Julie said they had the advantage of being acclimatised and it meant they could select for the traits they wanted.
The Blackall-grown fleece from Benalla, already decorated with grand champion fleece ribbons from Blackall and Barcaldine shows, added champion flock fleece at Longreach to its list of achievements, while a stud ram’s fleece from Victoria Downs at Morven was judged the grand champion fleece of the show.
Weighing 10.7kg and with a yield of 76, AWN’s Warren Zernike, who judged the wool competition, described it as a lovely spinning style.
He said the majority of the fleeces entered for competition were good to best top making types with some dustier types among them.
“The dry conditions had affected some of the entries, as well as the burr from the previous winter’s rain,” he said.
“Surprisingly, the weights were up there – they probably averaged five kilograms overall.
“There were some exceptions where places had had two lots of rain.”
Tony Neilson, Currane, Ilfracombe, received the wool aggregate trophy.
Warren said the good showing demonstrated that a lot more sheep would be run in the west when it finally rained.
“You could see people walking round comparing fleeces – I think things like this definitely influence sheep and ram purchases,” he said.