Team work over three generations of the Hood family saw the trophy of this year’s Doug Bicket Memorial Maiden Ewe Competition return to their farming enterprise.
Andew Hood was thrilled to be able to share the win with his father, Roger and son, Colby. “Dad has always been passionate about his sheep and since Colby joined our operation, we have endeavoured to really push the livestock side of the business and maximize the returns we can achieve.”
The family is extremely positive about the future of their flock after strong markets and an amazing season – an optimism that was plain for all to see when the team received the trophy in the shadows of a recently erected, state of the art shearing shed.
The Overland blood ewes carry a 20.5 micron fleece and are classed by Andy McLeod of Dubbo. The flock presented in top condition, reflecting the amazing 12 months of seasonal conditions, in stark contrast to the harsh drought the ewes were born into.
Despite well above average rainfall in the past three months and a severe fly wave that has ravaged the district, Andrew said the ewes had not been treated with any chemicals with minimal fly strike, attributing this to the Overland genetics the family has been using for a number of years.
The judges, Drew Chapman of Hinesville and West Plains Poll Studs, Delegate and Angus Munro, Stud Breeding Manager for Poll Boonoke and Wanganella Studs, were impressed with the ewes from the moment they set foot in the yards.
“This is a great commercial mob of ewes that have been well managed and classed with a clear direction,” said Drew. “They are a very uniform mob and are going to cut a lot of white, soft handling wool as well as being large bodied and structurally correct.”
Angus picked up on the flocks’ impressive lambing percentage adding, “To achieve a lambing percentage of 130% in the middle of one of the worst droughts on record is an amazing result and a credit to the management the Hood family are implementing over their animals.”
Second place went to the “Allambie” flock of the Watt family at Alectown. The Darriwell blood team are classed by Russell Jones, carry a 19.5 micron fleece and achieved a lambing percentage of 112%.
The encouragement award was taken home by the Witherow family of “Ranfurlie”, Parkes. It is the first time the flock has been entered in the competition and the team made quite an impression.
The largest crowd of spectators ever seen at the Parkes competition, organised by the Parkes PA & H Association is perhaps a reflection of the optimism around the turnaround in the season and the strong market conditions as the district moves to recover from the drought it had endured up until 12 months prior.
By Garry O’Brien