Australia’s top young Merino judges sashed in Sydney

Sheep Central, April 14, 2022

2022 Merino judging winner Patrick Davis.

AUSTRALIA’S top young Merino judges were decided at the Sydney Royal Easter Show yesterday.

The national championships are held in a different location each year by Agricultural Shows Australia.

This year, the Sydney Royal Easter Show, celebrating its bicentenary, hosted Merino judging finalists for 2022 and for 2021 finalists, after the 2021 championships were unable to be held at Brisbane’s Ekka show due to COVID cancellations.

2021 Merino judging winner Ben Hartwich, left, with runner-up Campbell Rubie, third placegetter Sym Hood and fourth placegetter Will Hacker.

The nation’s best young Merino sheep judge for 2022 is Ben Hartwich, 22, from Bullygrogran near Ararat in Victoria and the 2021 winner is Patrick Davis, 18, from Harden, New South Wales.

ASA is staging the national championships of young judges and paraders competitions with finalists from each state of Australia and New Zealand.

Runner-up for the 2021 Merino judging is Campbell Rubie, 18, from Forbes, New South Wales, and third is Sym Hood, 19, from Longford, Tasmania.

The 2022 runner-up is Ashley Meaburn, 20, from Runnymede in Tasmania and third is Phillipa Hacker, 24, from ‘Roselea’ Muckadilla, Queensland.

The Merino sheep and fleece judging competitions are sponsored by Australian Wool Innovation.

Although Merino judging is subjective, the ASA said the competition judges paid close attention to how clearly competitors expressed their decision and how they validated it. A competitor’s appearance is also important and judges can mark down for poor presentation, ASA said.

ASA chairman Dr Rob Wilson said the peak body oversaw 572 agricultural shows in Australia which attract six million visitors annually and contribute nearly $1 billion to the national economy. He said the competition is designed to recognise the best new talent in livestock judging nationwide.

“It’s an extremely prestigious event and positions at the nationals are keenly contested,” he said.

“These young people are the future of agricultural show competitions which are crucial to the continual improvement of Australia’s food and fibre.

“The national competition is a coveted opportunity to grow personally and professionally by practising skills against the cream of the crop.”

For more information about the competition visit


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