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Beyond the Bale : June 2015
ON FARM 51 • Corriedale producers at this year’s Sydney Royal Easter Show were in an optimistic mood due to buoyant prices for their wool and an increase in exhibitors in the judging ring. • They also commemorated the role that the Corriedale fleece has played in supplying the uniforms for soldiers since 1915, when the ANZACs were established. With the price of 26 to 30 micron wool having increased by more than a quarter over the previous 12 months, the mood was upbeat amongst the Corriedale exhibitors at this year’s Sydney Royal Easter Show. But while the Australian Corriedale Association and its members were looking to the future with optimism, they also honoured the connection the fibre has with military clothing over the past 100 years – since the establishment of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) in 1915 – by organising a stand in the sheep pavilion with the theme of ‘War and Wool’. Because of its lustre and loft, Corriedale wool was ideal for uniforms, greatcoats and blankets supplied during World War One to our troops, as well as those of Great Britain, France and Russia. The wartime demand for crossbred wool was huge because, for Europe especially, the material had to be durable, warm and hard wearing. Commemorating the past 100 years since the establishment of the ANZACs was especially appropriate given the breed’s strong connection with both Australia and New Zealand. The Corriedale breed evolved simultaneously in both countries by selectively breeding from cross bred progeny of pure Merino and Lincoln sheep. Developed in the latter quarter of the 19th century to meet a demand for a dual purpose animal with good meat characteristics and commercial wool production, today it is a true dual purpose breed that produces heavy cutting bright fleece. To highlight the long-term cooperation between the two countries, the Australian Corriedale Association invited Tom Burrows, a council member from the New Zealand Sheepbreeders’ Association, to attend and judge the Corriedale entrants at this year’s Sydney Royal. At a special function held after the judging, attended by stud breeders, commercial producers, AWI representatives and students, Mr Burrows – whose grandfather was a trooper in the Canterbury Mounted Rifles at Gallipoli – spoke of his admiration for the industry in Australia. “The enthusiasm of the Corriedale community that I have met in Australia is something to be admired – and the fleeces and carcasses of the sheep that I have seen today at judging were outstanding,” he said. “I’ve been particularly impressed with the how the next generation of Corriedale producers is cultivated here in Australia, with several schools across the country having their own Corriedale studs and the students being keen contestants in junior judging and handling competitions. “I am also a great admirer of the Corriedale Young Ambassador Programme – a joint initiative between New Zealand and Australia – which increases the knowledge of Corriedale sheep and agricultural production in both our countries.” Indeed, the fact that both the grand champion and reserve champion Corriedale ewes at the Sydney Show were awarded to Badgally stud, run by St Gregorys College at Campbelltown, is an illustration of the calibre of young Corriedale producers in Australia. The grand champion and reserve champion Corriedale ram was won by Richard and Jane Carter of ‘Billigaboo’, Goulburn. The Chairman of the NSW branch of the Australian Corriedale Association, Tony Manchester of ‘Roseville’, Kingsvale, thanked Mr Burrows for his attendance and spoke of his confidence for the future of breed. “There is a lot more interest in Corriedales at the moment, with plenty of entrants at this year’s Sydney Royal – up by 15 from last year to 83,” he said. “Corriedales cut heavy wool and, combined with the lift in prices for wools of this micron, the breed is delivering good returns for producers. Add to this high lamb and mutton returns, then you can see why people are attracted to this exceptional dual purpose breed.” MORE INFORMATION www.corriedale.org.au Australian soldiers wrapped up warm in London’s Trafalgar Square during World War One. PHOTO: Topical Press Agency / Stringer CORRIEDALES LOOKING FORWARD AND BACK Judge Tom Burrows with the Grand Champion Corriedale Ewe paraded by Lachlan Watkin and Reserve Grand Champion Corriedale Ewe exhibited by Michael Watkin, both of St Gregory's College Cambelltown that has its own Corriedale stud.