Even shy Gippsland woolgrowers could find themselves nominated for the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria’s Flock of the Year competition next year.
The RASV, with the help of Merino Victoria, has resurrected the competition after a 10-year break, re-starting it in 2015 in Gippsland, a region that has fared better than most in the state this year.
Each year a region will be selected as the location for the event, ensuring each area of Victoria can participate every three years.
Flocks will compete for $1500 cash prize and plaque
The prestigious award celebrates and helps improving the quality of Victoria’s Merino ewe flocks and includes a $1500 cash prize and plaque.
Gippsland Merino stud breeder Steve Harrison at Giffard West is helping to organise some entries for the competition’s return in the south-east Victorian region.
“You can dob your neighbour in,” he said.
“We do have a couple of growers that would self-nominate, but there is also that opportunity to nominate your neighbour.
“There are a couple of very shy breeders down here that have tremendous flocks.”
Mr Harrison said the competition was open to commercial flocks, not studs, and he was looking forward to it giving the region’s woolgrowers some positive attention.
“There are a lot of rams bred outside Gippsland get used in the region, so this is certainly a window of opportunity to compare bloodlines,” he said.
“We’ve got fellows buying rams out of New England, South Australia and the Riverina.
“So there is a tremendous cross-section of different flocks to have a look at.”
Mr Harrison said the season in Gippsland has been very good, compared to the rest of the state.
Flock judging tour in March
RASV co-ordinator Fiona Looker said entries for the competition will close at the end of January. The competition gives entrants the opportunity to view other production systems and learn best practice management.
Ms Looker said the competition was last run in 2006 and entrants had to provide a lot of detailed business and management information. This had been cut back to a description of the property, the production system and flock reproduction rates.
“If someone is running a stud and a commercial flock, they are more than welcome to enter just their commercial flock,” she said.
Competing properties will be open for official judging, as well as viewing by fellow producers, on March 13, 2015. The order in which the properties will be judged will be determined once entries close.
Simpler entry process and judging criteria
RASV CEO Mark O’Sullivan said a simpler entry process and judging criteria has been implemented encouraging all eligible producers to participate in the competition.
“The RASV is delighted to open entries for the 2015 Flock of the Year competition, with the support of Merino Victoria.
“With a new, revised competition format, we have made it more convenient for all eligible Merino producers to compete for this prestigious award, take advantage of the opportunity to learn from and benchmark against fellow producers, and be part of this unique celebration of the industry,” he said.
The Flock of the Year program will also include guest speakers, information seminars and the opportunity to hear the judges’ invaluable insight on the state of Victoria’s flock. The competition will culminate in the Flock of the Year Celebration Dinner on March 14 where the awards will be presented.
Registrations open today and will close in late January with RASV members eligible for a discount on the $50 entry fee. For more information on how to enter, visit www.rasv.com.au/flockoftheyear or contact Fiona Looker, RASV on 03 9281 7412 or [email protected]
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