SHEEP AND WOOL SHOW
By ROSS McGAUCHIE President Australian Sheep Breeders Association
IT’S time once again for the greatest sheep show on earth - and that’s really no exaggeration.
As the biggest event of its kind in the world, the Australian Sheep and Wool Show is first and foremost about the very best animal genetics, and how this translates to myriad by-products, from catwalk to table.
The hallmark of this, the 141st show, is imagination, inspiration and innovation - evident across every shed and marquee.
You’ll find it in the Careers and Technology Hub where aspiring young agriculturalists can, for example, try their hand at shearing a virtual sheep or drove a virtual mob thanks to cutting-edge augmented reality technology.
It’s intrinsic in the new season Sportscraft and SABA designs being paraded in the Women of Wool fashion show, in the warp and weft of Woolcraft and the array of wonderful dishes created for the Festival of Lamb.
It’s there in the genetics of the iconic kelpie yard dogs, the superfine micron fibres of the Australian Fleece Competition and in the very heart of the young shearer hoping to get around the old gun in the Sports Shear Victoria state finals.
The Australian Sheep and Wool Show is both a wonderful reflection of the diligence and drive of members across our industry and its contribution to the economy.
Where most shows around the country are getting smaller and struggling harder, we are growing - especially since coming out of Melbourne 18 years ago.
In the past 10 years there have been $8 million worth of sheds built on Bendigo’s Prince of Wales Showgrounds - and still we need more for the sheep show to continue as the epicentre of genetic excellence and national showcase for the entire supply chain from farm gate to the value-added.
It is important that, as organisers, we too innovate.
This year, as part of the drive to boost the consumption of lamb, the traditional Breeders Dinner will be com- bined in a gala event presented by Fairfax Agricultural Media, and Meat and Livestock Australia.
The Woolworths Lambition project aims to put the traditional protein back on the top of the family menu and will explore how producers can play a greater part in its promotion.
This is just one example of how partnerships can help drive more business.
It is important that we acknowledge how vital supporters have been in the continued success of the sheep show.
All play a part, from Rotary - which is this year handling our occupational health and safety compliance – to Eilan Donan Merino sponsoring the novice yard dog event, to organisations like Rural Bank which is lending us its charismatic managing director Alexandra Gartmann to MC the Women of Wool luncheon.
We know the show makes a direct contribution of more than $5 million to the local economy, drawing in excess of 30,000 visitors to the Bendigo Showgrounds over three days, but just as importantly the Greater Bendigo Council has assisted and made us welcome in every way.
Other major sponsorship partners including Stock & Land, AWTA, Landmark, Elders, RASV, AWI, WFI, O’Sullivans Transport, MLA and Agriculture Victoria also have our thanks.
Time once said Australia was to ride on the sheep’s back; these days, the ASBA has got good friends to help more evenly distribute the weight and we are, as ever, grateful to our dedicated volunteers.
Enjoy the show.
WELCOME: Ross McGauchie, president of the Australian Sheep Breeders Association, wants as many as possible to come along to this year’s Sheep and Wool Show.
TALK IT OUT: This month’s Australian Sheep and Wool Show promises lots of industry insights, catch up opportunities and live displays.