Top sheep producers earn baa-ragging rights at Monarto Ag Bureau hogget competition
Robert Thiele and Nathan Wegener are among the farmers to have won recognition at a gathering on Friday night.
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Who produces the best sheep in the Murray Bridge district?
Monarto South’s Robert Thiele and Callington’s Nathan Wegener can both claim to be up there after the Monarto Agricultural Bureau’s annual ewe hogget competition.
About 50 farmers gathered in a fairly flash shearing shed at Lakeview, the Pearson family’s Brinkley property, on Friday night.
Twenty ewes had been donated for the competition, kept on the same property for six months, and shorn and butchered at the same time to allow for a fair assessment of their wool and carcase quality.
The Wegener family of Colrae starred, taking out the top prize in each category with two different ewes and finishing 1-2 in the overall competition.
Eight contestants also brought merino ewes along for judging on the night, with prizes for the best single ewe and best pen of four.
Ric Ridgway from Ridgway Poll Merino Stud took his time with the lineup, grabbing back legs here, inspecting wool there and jotting in a notepad.
Eventually he selected Mr Thiele’s stock as the pick of the bunch in both categories, for their conformation, meat traits and wool capability.
Half a dozen local agricultural agencies and related businesses donated prizes for the night.
Livestock SA board member Sam Neumann also took the opportunity to talk to the bureau’s members about how the levies they paid were being spent.
Proceeds from the sale of the hoggets’ meat and wool, estimated at several thousand dollars, were to be split between the bureau and a charity.
Mr Thiele said he was optimistic that nights like Friday would help the bureau grow beyond its current membership of about 15.
“One of the biggest things out of tonight is that we’ve actually got some young people prepared to do things,” he said, singling out young bureau president Lincoln Williss for a round of applause.
“It’s all about the youth.”
The Monarto Agricultural Bureau has operated continuously since 1986, having spent 14 years in recess before that after farmers were displace by the state government’s ill-fated plan to build a satellite city in the area.