Competition to celebrate the best of New Zealand's ewe hoggets
North Island hogget breeders outnumber South Islanders for the first time in the New Zealand Ewe Hogget Competition.
The winner will be announced from 11 finalists vying for the national title at a presentation dinner at Ascot Park Hotel on Monday.
South Island convenor William Mitchell said North Islanders had never outnumbered southerners in the competition before, with six of the finalists hailing from the North Island.
There were strong entries from northerners this year, with many past entrants taking judges' comments on board when they entered again, he said.
But that didn't indicate the south was going to lose its 'sheep country' title, he said.
"It was just the way it worked out this year."
The New Zealand Ewe Hogget Competition began 20 years ago, and remains the only nationwide competition celebrating commercial sheep breeders.
Agricultural Minister Nathan Guy will attend the presentation dinner where the breed winners will also be named alongside the overall winner.
During the competition, the breed winners will be interviewed about their farm and stock.
Hoggets were judged on flock performance, wool quality and production, breeding and selection genetics and breed type.
Mitchell said there had been a high standard of ewe hoggets throughout the competition this year.
Good hoggets were an indication of how the farm would perform in the future, he said.
"If they look after their young stock when they're young it builds them for later in life."
NZ Ewe Hogget Finalists
John and Lachie McFadzean, Masterton
Craig Tomlinson, Amberley
Allen Coster, Tauranga
Dave and Melissa Bullmore, Balfour
Peter and Shona Bennett, Matawai
Vern Cotter (Peter Latiff, manager), Te Puke
Allan and Leeann Woodrow, Gore
Willie and Phillipa Menlove, Lumsden
Allan and SImon Paterson, Ranfurly
Tom and Richard Whitford, Tuakau
Ruth and Ross Richards, Taumarunui