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Beyond the Bale : June 2014
33 ON-FARM President of the World Federation of Merino Breeders, Rob Ashby (far right) with His Majesty King Letsie III of Lesotho (to his right) and President of the Association of Stud Merino Breeders, Phil Toland (middle), at the Heuningkrans Merino Stud of Eddie Prinsloo (left) -- a former "South African farmer of the year" -- of whom the King of Lesotho is a ram buying client. The Australians out in the field at the Crux Dohne Merino Stud of Wikus Bekker. The Australians gathered at Klipplaatsfontein, the farm of Andries and Nora Pienaar. Andries is a well-known Merino Stud breeder and former "South African farmer of the year". He has judged Merinos in Australia. The Australians getting hands-on at the Rubidge family's Wellwood farm. The 9th World Merino Conference was held in South Africa at the end of April, with about 450 delegates from 11 countries attending. About two-thirds of the delegates were from the host country, South Africa; Australians made up more than half of the overseas delegates. More than 35 speakers presented talks. Australian speakers included AWI General Manager, Research, Dr Paul Swan; researchers Dr Johan Greeff and Mandy Curnow from the Department of Agriculture and Food WA, Sue Hatcher from the NSW Department of Primary Industries; and Egelabra general manager Cam Munro. At the conference South Australian Tom Ashby took over from Rob Ashby as president of the World Federation of Merino Breeders, under whose auspices world Merino conferences are held every four years The two-day conference, titled "Merino Breeding: Sustainable Enterprise -- Cherished Lifestyle", was preceded by a Merino Expo. Preceding and following the conference, many Australian delegates toured South African farms, visiting prominent sheep breeders of Merino and derivative breeds. June 2014 BEYOND THE BALE Aussies in South Africa FAST FACTS lThe Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders (AASMB) organised a Trade Mission to South Africa in April. lThe Trade Mission incorporated the two-day 9th World Merino Conference, preceded by a Merino Expo. lA pre-conference tour, organised with support from AWI, enabled Australian producers to visit leading South African Merino sheep farms.