Suffolks, White Suffolks and Southdown sheep rammed home an advantage in the sheep competition at the Royal Queensland Show this year.
A Suffolk ram shown by the Cleveland District State High School saw it triumph in the school classes and then the overall awards, winning the supreme champion ram of the show ribbon.
Gatton-based judge, George Melano, who has had a long-term association with Romney and Suffolk breeds, said his final appraisal took into account the characteristics that would advance each one’s breed the best.
“I felt the Suffolk had that little bit extra,” he said.
The ram proved his credentials over some very strong Suffolk classes that were the largest of the day’s judging.
Soon after, it was the turn of the Pride of the Downs to receive the accolades as the breeder of the supreme champion ewe of the show with a White Suffolk ewe that had earlier triumphed in the open classes.
Mr Melano described her as having a “little extra touch of class”.
Well-known Inglewood producer, Lyndon Frey, brought his biggest team ever to the Royal Queensland Show, 36 head of Poll Dorset, Dorset Horn and Southdowns, and it paid off when his Silverdale Southdown Stud was awarded the supreme champion breeders group of the show ribbon.
This was in spite of the trying climatic conditions at home, where Mr Frey said he was feeding his stock.
Mr Melano, said if he were to walk into a room of carcases, he believed the Inglewood ones were what he’d be drawn to most.
The even-numbered years have been good to Mr Frey, who won the Ekka supreme ewe championship in 2014 with a Poll Dorset, followed by the supreme ram award with a Poll Dorset and supreme breeders group with Dorset Horn in 2016, as well as this year’s success.
Mr Frey said he wanted to support all aspects of the sheep section at Brisbane, which meant having woolly and shorn sheep, and similar sheep for the pairs competition.
Earlier in the morning, the green-shirted St George school crew was all smiles when its poll Dorset ewe took the winner’s sash in the schools’ competition.
She was part of a seven-member team having its first outing.
Teacher, Len Cott, said the poll Dorsets were good for the students to practice leading with.
Scots PGC showed the champion school breeder’s group, winning with Texels that were described as having uniformity.
It was music to the ears of Warwick breeder and butcher, Rob McKechnie, himself a Texel breeder forced to scale back thanks to drought and price logistics.
One of the onlookers and supporters – his daughter was leading one of the entries – Mr Cott said the win reinforced what he’d been saying about the breed.
“When you skin a sheep, the correlation between connective tissue and eating quality is important.
“Texels peel like a banana, plus they tend not to be overfat.”
It was Mr Melano’s third time as a sheep judge at the Royal Queensland Show but he has been involved in junior judging for many years, which showed during his judging commentary.
Tips such as looking at the depth between a sheep’s eye and its jaw to estimate its eye muscle area, the way it was done before modern technology offered a different solution, were freely shared.
Mr Melano said he liked the contact with young people and liked it even more when they took advantage of his tips and they worked.
He said he was disappointed there was not more agriculture taught in schools, as it would open up many opportunities for young people.
Entries in the school sheep classes were believed to be slightly higher this year.
Champion Suffolk school ram: Cleveland District State High School; reserve champion: Cleveland.
Champion Suffolk school ewe: Cleveland District State High School; reserve champion: Rochedale State High School.
Champion Texel school ram: Scots PGC College; reserve champion: Scots PGC.
Champion Texel school ewe: Scots PGC; reserve champion: Scots PGC.
Champion Dorper school ram: Livingstone Christian College.
Champion Dorper school ewe: Livingstone Christian College; reserve champion: Livingstone.
Champion Poll Dorset school ram: St George State High School; reserve champion: St George.
Champion Poll Dorset school ewe: St George; reserve champion: St George.
Champion Southdown school ram: Rochedale State High School.
Champion Southdown school ewe: Rochedale.
Grand champion school ram: Cleveland State High School White Suffolk.
Grand champion school ewe: St George State High School Poll Dorset.
Champion school breeders group: Scots PGC College Texels.
Supreme champion ram of show: Cleveland Suffolk
Supreme champion ewe of show: Pride of the West White Suffolk
Supreme champion breeders group: Silverdale Southdowns, Inglewood.