MERINO studs from across Victoria are flocking to compete for an inaugural and exclusive state title at Marnoo in August.
The Marnoo Merino Field Day will expand from a regional to a state-wide event on Friday 23 August, with more than $10,000 in prizes expected to be offered for the best March-shorn hogget ram on the day.
The Marnoo Merino Stud Breeders Association is behind the move and expects strong interest in the inaugural Victorian Marnoo Merino Field Day.
Association spokesman Trent Carter said South Australia and New South Wales have state-based competitions but not Victoria.
“Victoria doesn’t have a class for the champion March-shorn hogget ram so with Marnoo’s strong foundations, the association decided to broaden the scope to invite all Victoria-exclusive studs to join in the field day.
“We’ve already built a successful local event; this will make it even better,” he said.
The usual September Marnoo Merino Field Day, which has been running for more than 30 years, will be brought forward to Friday 23 August to fit with national shows and sales. The event usually attracts 10 local studs, but already an additional 15 studs from other parts of Victoria have indicated they will attend.
“We expect there will be more than 30 Victorian merino studs on the day,” Mr Carter said.
The event usually attracts 150-300 people and Mr Carter hopes to at least double that number.
“We’ll be tripling the number of studs, so it will attract a lot more interest and will hopefully continue to grow,” he said.
Mr Carter said Merino studs can compete at Hamilton and Bendigo sheep shows, but there was nothing exclusive for Victorians.
“This will give anyone looking for proven local Victorian genetics the ability to find everything in the one spot.”
All studs displaying on the day can show a ram in the March shorn hogget competition and the association hopes to offer more than $10,000 in products and services from major suppliers and sponsors. The event has already attracted support from Victoria’s major stock agents, animal health companies and suppliers.
“This will be the best opportunity for stud breeders and commercial clients to socialise and look at the leading genetics being offered throughout Victoria,” Mr Carter said.
“We’ve already had really good feedback to expressions of interest through the state committee.”
The inaugural Victorian Marnoo Merino Field Day will be from 10am-4pm at the Marnoo Events Centre. The centre at the town’s cricket ground has had a $300,000 upgrade in the past 12 months with a new licensed bar and facilities. The field day will also have several trade displays and entry is free.