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31 July 2019
By Colin MacGillivray
An unprecedented sweep of major Merino sashes at Bendigo’s Australian Sheep and Wool Show has helped cement the reputation of Glenpaen Merino and Poll Merino Stud.
The Brimpaen stud was in the enviable position of being unable to lose when a Poll Merino ewe and Merino ram were named grand champions of their respective classes, vying against each other for Supreme Champion Merino Sheep of the Show.
Stud principal Rod Miller said it was the first time two sheep from the same stud had competed for the title of supreme champion.
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“To be in that position where you can’t lose is not a bad feeling,” he said.
“I left home thinking I had a handy team, but never in my wildest dreams did I think that would happen.”
Mr Miller said he was surprised when the judges gave the nod to the ram as supreme champion over the ewe.
“I thought the ewe might’ve won,” he said.
“I regard her as probably the best ewe I’ve ever bred, or close to it anyway. She’s just an all-around package.
“She’s a big ewe, her wool tests are fantastic, she’s deep, she’s got staple and all that, but she still looks feminine; she still looks like a ewe, which is very important.
“With the ram, I was umming and ahing for a long time about whether to sell him, but I just thought it was a good time to put a good sheep up and lift our profile.”
Mr Miller said he was grateful he finally decided to enter the ram.
“The wool was his best feature,” he said.
“For a 17.5-micron lamb he was a big sheep, he was structurally correct, and his wool just had a special sparkle about it.”
Over the line
That sparkle was enough to captivate the judges and earn Glenpaen its first ever supreme champion sash.
“We’ve come close to taking out supreme a couple of times, but never quite got over the line,” Mr Miller said.
“I think we’ve been at Bendigo for 20 years, and before that when the show was at Melbourne, we were there for three or four years.
“I went there hoping to be competitive, and if you’re competitive and among the top, you’re doing well, but to do what we did blew me away.”
Mr Miller said he was already sorting through his ewes trying to find next year’s show sheep.
He said picking show sheep was more of an art than a science.
“You’re looking into a bit of a crystal ball when you’re picking them out and trying to pick out all the good attributes,” he said.
“You look for structure – they’ve got to have a leg in each corner and be good on their feet.
“Then their wool has got to be right, they’ve got to be able to handle being put in the shed over the summer period to be fed up.
“Some ewes you put in thinking they’re going to be good and then you end up throwing them out.”
Mr Miller paid credit to his family and everyone at the stud for their hard work.
“Without my father starting the stud we wouldn’t be where we are, and without the sheep classes we’ve had in the past up until now we wouldn’t be where we are either,” he said.
“She’s a family affair here, and everyone puts in and helps out.”
The entire July 31, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!
The entire July 31, 2019 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!