With the highest ever number of retail sites, fierce competition, record prices paid for stud stock and high visitor numbers, the 2017 Australian Sheep & Wool Show in Bendigo reflected continuing market confidence.
The event, the largest of its type in the world, saw Tasmanian woolgrowers take out the country’s highest benchmarks for premium wool. But it was a Southern Riverina school that shone from our region across the July 14-16 event.
Finley High School was successful in a number of categories, awarded the Poll Dorset Aggregate Novice Breeder trophy and the title of Poll Dorset best lamb ram in Australia.
‘‘Our winning ram is a very well grown lamb, and he is one of largest in his class,’’ Finley High School agricultural teacher Gary Webb said.
‘‘One of the comments from the judges noted the improvement the school has made with its sheep over the years. That has been achieved through our genetics program.’’
Increased international demand for premium fibre and continuing high prices for prime lamb saw visitors and competitors travel from every state and from overseas.
A record crowd enjoyed the national Woolcraft competition; Australia’s largest fibre market; the Festival of Lamb; the growing youth and schools competition; national working yard dog trials; state shearing qualifiers and intense competition for the winning ribbons.
This year’s feature breed, the Heritage Breeds, showcased breeds that formed the basis for Australia’s sheep industry and the importance of preserving these genetics for the future.
Next year’s feature breed will be the iconic Merino.
The show also incorporated a careers and technology component as the industry seeks to encourage young people to take up agriculture and related careers in the face of a skills shortage.
Next year’s Australian Sheep & Wool Show will be held again in Bendigo from July 20 to 22.