Menloves reverse result in tight ewe hogget competition
Lumsden perendale farmers Willie and Phillipa Menlove are probably still getting over their nerves after a grand final that went down to the wire in the New Zealand Ewe Hogget Competition.
Barely 0.3 points separated the Southland couple from runners-up Allan and Leean Woodrow of Waikana who also presented a young perendale mob to the judges.
To add even more drama to the final, the Menloves reversed the result of the North Otago Southland regional competition when they were shaded out by the Woodrows by much the same margin in a freakish coincidence. The winners were announced from 11 finalists vying for the national title at a presentation dinner in Southland on Monday.
Convenor William Mitchell said the combined evenness of the perendale ewe hoggets and their performance in the back country probably tipped the balance in favour of the Menloves.
Little separated the first and second placegetters, he said.
"They were in tremendous order for the country they were living on and they were an excellent line of sheep. The points total shows how close the competition was with the first and second placegetters and there wasn't much in it. The winning flock had 92.34 total points and the runner up flock which was also perendale was 92.17."
The Menlove flock was shown to judges in backcountry yards eight kilometres away from the farm's main yards and they were brought up on developed country replacing native tussock and other plants.
The winning couple run a 2015 hectare farm at Lumsden with 14,712 stock units and as well as their perendale flock run a deer and beef breeding and finishing operation. The scanning rate for mixed age ewes was 175 per cent, and two tooths 165 per cent and tailing was 156 per cent for the older ewes and 134 per cent for the two tooths. Lambing starts on September 21 for the mixed age ewes and September 11 for the two tooths with lamb weaning on December 10 for the ewes and January 17 for the younger ewes. The hogget liveweight averaged 46 kilograms.
Each farmer had to front up with 80 per cent of their ewe replacements to qualify for the competition.
Mitchell said the different farming environments between entrants was taken into consideration during the judging.
He said the quality across the breeds was impressive considering the tough season some of the farmers had gone through such as Waipara's Craig and Fiona Tomlinson who won the breed section for romneys and would bode well for the future of the sheep industry.
The Menloves also won the large flock award and phenotype award.
The competition had the most North Island finalists in its history and some of them won section titles.
The Menloves are expected to hold a field day likely in November.
Special award winners: Flock Performance - David and Melissa Bullmore, composite flock from Lumsden, Phenotype Award - Willie and Phillipa Menlove, Wool Quality Award - Allan and Leean Woodrow, perendale, Waikana, Young Achievers Award - Tom and Amanda Bowie from Masterton, Large Flock Award - Willie and Phillipa Menlove.
Breed winners: Romney - Craig and Fiona Tomlinson, Waipara, Composite - David and Melissa Bullmore, Lumsden, Crossbreed - Peter and Shona Bennett, Matawai, Perendale - Willie and Phillipa Menlove, Fine Wool - Simon and Allan Paterson, Ranfurly, Coopworth - Tom Whitford, Tuakau.