The Weekly Advertiser Horsham
Timely field day ‘a great day out’
Marnoo Stud Breeders Association leaders are expecting to host an even bigger and better Victorian State Merino Field Day in 2022 following the success of this month’s event.
President Trent Carter said some of Victoria’s top rams were on display at Marnoo Recreation Reserve for the association’s second state show.
Last year’s event was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the inaugural event in 2019 featured 26 studs.
Mr Carter said this year’s field day had 32 studs in action and both he and Victorian Stud Merino Sheep Breeders Association president Peter Rogers had received inquiries from other breeders.
“We could have an extra four or five next year,” he said.
“People loved the layout and the time slot. It’s a six-hour event without any bells and whistles. It’s relaxed, easy to move around in and nobody is hidden away.
“The atmosphere was nice and social and commercial breeders could come and have a quiet look.
“We had a big marquee – 20 metres by 45 metres – for all the visiting studs and trades. We had about 500 rams scanned in on the day and they are some of Victoria’s best.”
Mr Carter said being able to host the event in between statewide lockdowns was ‘pure luck’.
He said it helped that studs and trades involved were happy to be flexible and work alongside the committee.
Restrictions at the time enabled crowds to attend the field day on August 16, provided they complied with the organisers’ COVID-SAFE plan.
“Everyone was great about adhering to COVID restrictions and it was a really safe and successful event,” Mr Carter said.
“We had about 250 people visit throughout the day, with about 350 in total by the time you counted trades and stud breeders.
“They were all pure, genuine stud breeders and the feedback we got was fantastic.
“We had a great level of inquiry. It was just a great day to get out and socialise with everyone and see everyone’s stud genetics.
“It’s really been two years since we’ve got to see what the Victorian merino industry has to offer.”
Mr Carter, who is also co-principal of Marnoo’s Wallaloo Park stud, said participants were particularly pleased to attend the Marnoo event after the last-minute cancellation of the Australian
Sheep and Wool Show in Bendigo in July.
“We’d unloaded our rams, stayed the night and had to load them back up the next day and leave,” Mr Carter said.
“It wasn’t a huge disaster for Victorian studs, it was worse for NSW and South Australians. Some people from South Australia drove for 12 hours only to get to Bendigo and have to go home again – and be back over the border by midnight.”
Mr Carter said competition was a highlight of the Victorian State Merino Field Day.
“We were fortunate to judge the Victorian long wool championships at
Marnoo, which were supposed to be judged at Bendigo,” he said.
“We had Robert Plush, George Mckenzie and Jonno Hicks judge the competition and then two of them also judged the March-shorn rams.”
Marnoo’s Belbourie Merino and Poll Merino Stud won the coveted Zoetis Hogget Ram of the Year accolade.
Marnoo Stud Breeders Association is a ‘group of local stud breeders putting on an event for the state’.
Mr Carter said association members would meet in November to discuss any feedback and set a date for next year’s field day.
He said the event would only continue to grow in stature.
“We really want to ramp up the social aspect, with a bar and live music – which we didn’t do this year – and really create a fun day out for the family,” he said.
“We have our fingers crossed for next year.”
People can email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marnoo breeders will also turn their attention to their on-property sales at the end of September and early October.
Many of the studs will host open days on September 23, with Wallaloo Park’s sale day scheduled for September 30.