Taking the Breed to the Next Level

    Supreme GSSM 2020 front on websiteKristen Frost


    The keynote coming from the 2020 Great Southern Supreme Merino (GSSM) Show on January 18 and 19 was affirmation the Merino industry is moving forward.

    Classed as one of the premier displays of Merinos in the country, close to 310 entries of Merino and Poll Merinos from 43 studs were assessed by four judges.

    All praised the exhibitors on their ability to breed a productive sheep that were true to type.

    Out of the three states represented at the meet, it was the Wal and George Merriman of Merryville stud, Boorowa, which set the catalyst, taking home two of the major gongs.

     Their March-shorn, four-tooth fine wool ewe was the show’s supreme exhibit

    The ewe, described by judges as “magnificent”, came through her fine wool classes, judged by Alan McCormack of Walwa Merino stud, Gurrundah, before she was named the top sheep of the show.

    The ewe carried a 19.6-micron fleece with a standard deviation (SD) of 3, coefficient of variation (CV) of 15.3pc and comfort factor (CF) of 99.6pc.

    Medium strong wool judge, Stuart McBurnie, Weealla Merino stud, Gilgandra, said when it came down to picking the supreme exhibit the fine wool ewe was a real stud sheep.

    “People have different ideas about comparing the ram and the ewe for supreme, but we went for the ewe for her sheer presence and her sheer volume,” Mr McBurnie said.

    Before the Merryville ewe was named supreme, she was judged against the grand champion ram of the show exhibited by Paul Walton of Wurrook stud, Rokewood, Vic, which had also been judged the champion sale ram of the show.

    Mr McBurnie commented nothing should be taken away from the grand champion ram, saying you would have to go a long way to find a better sheep.

    “He is deep, he is wide, he has wool all over him. It’s pretty hard to fault him,” Mr McBurnie said.

    That ram went on to sell for the GGSM sale top price of $12,000 to a syndicate of three Monaro studs.

    Wurrook also exhibited the grand champion Poll Merino exhibit with the superfine four-tooth ram entry which had previously been sashed champion March shorn poll ram.

    Superfine judge John Holley, Yoorooga, Tenterfield, said the ram had tremendous quality of wool on a great body.

    The Wurrook ram was sashed grand champion poll exhibit when he overcome the grand champion poll ewe exhibit shown by Laraben stud, Mudgee.

    Mr McBurnie said all the sheep vying for the supreme honour were a credit to the breeders commenting they had all taken the breed to the next level.

    The supreme junior exhibit and junior champion ewe were both exhibited by the Alcock family of Greenland stud, Bungarby, which were also judged first place in the March shorn pairs.

    The ram had successfully progressed though his fine wool classes, appraised by fine wool judge, Alan McCormack.

    Mr McCormack said you don’t come across those sort of sheep very often.

    “He has a lot of admirable traits,” Mr McCormack said.

    “To get a sheep with that good a skin and wool with plenty of growth for his age, very good structure, plenty of carcass in him - he is the complete package.

    “He will take the industry to the next level.”

    The Greenland junior champion ewe rose from her superfine classes, selected by judge John Holley.

    In his explanatory comments to the exhibitors, Mr Holley said the ewe carried a pure fleece of a very sweet wool on a balanced and correct body.

    Junior champion poll ram and ewe sashes also went to the one exhibitor.

    Carina Gavin Swords of Laraben Poll stud had one of their most successful showings to date with their August shorn fine wool ram named the junior champion poll ram, while their August shorn superfine wool ewe was named junior champion poll ewe.

    The Roger Birtles Memorial Trophy for the March shorn group of three rams and two ewes was won by Merryville, who also exhibited the winning August shorn group.

    Merryville stud went on to the named the most successful exhibitor for 2020.

    In the Merino sheep junior judging section Patrick Davis, Demondrille, Harden, placed first and will now complete in the competition at the Sydney Royal Show in April.

    Junior handler was awarded to Campbell Parker with Samantha Noakes and second and Williams Palmer third.



    Champion sale ram – Wurrook
    Reserve – Merryville


    Champion August shorn ram – Orrie Cowie
    Reserve – Wurrook


    Champion August shorn ewe – Lach River
    Reserve – Bocoble


    Champion August Shorn Poll ram – Laraben
    Reserve Wongara Poll

    Junior champion August shorn Poll ram – Laraben
    Reserve – Wongara Poll

    Champion August shorn Poll ewe – Laraben
    Reserve – Bocoble


    Champion March shorn ram – Greenland
    Reserve – Demondrille

    Champion March shorn ewe – Merryville
    Reserve – Merryville


    Champion March shorn Poll ram – Wurrook
    Reserve – Bocoble

    Junior champion – Merryville


    Champion March shorn Poll ewe  - Wurrook
    Reserve – Laraben


    GSSM 2020 RAM SALE 

    Top price in the sale pens was set at $12,000 for the champion sale ram and grand champion ram of the show exhibited by Paul Walton of Wurrook stud, Rokewood, Victoria.

    The ram was purchased by a syndicate of three studs based in the Monaro – Gorden and Jenny Crowe of Round Plain, Cooma, Michael Hedger, Snowy Plain, Berridale and the Lette family of Conrayn, Berridale.

    The hefty fine wool ram weighed 141 kilograms and carried  figures of 18.4-micron, 2.5 standard deviation (SD), 13.6 coefficient of variation (CV) and 99.6pc comfort factor (CF).

    A second ram offered by the Wurrook stud sold for $4000 purchased by Glen Brothers, Guildford, Victoria.

    Other notable sales were two rams sold by Merrignee stud, Boorowa for $3250 and $3000 purchased by E.J. Merriman and Son, Yass, while Wal and George Merriman of Merryville stud, Boorowa sold one at $3000 and $2000 respectively.

    The Alcock family, Greenland stud, Bungarby, sold one for $2500 to Garry Seaman of Lochness stud, Laggan.

    Of the 41 rams offered, 22 rams sold to average $2409.

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