NO newcomers to Merino maiden ewe competitions, Justin and Natalie McCarten have made the 2020 Lake Cargelligo fixture their third win in 20 years.
With their four daughters, the McCartens run a self-replacing Merino flock of One Oak blood growing 20 micron wool at Glen-Echo, Rankins Springs, classed by Michael Elmes, Narrandera.
Mr McCarten, said a judge, several years ago, Matthew Coddington, Roseville Park stud, Dubbo, had commented that his ewes had the full genetic potential to grow out into good matrons and gain the benefit years on of breeding better sheep.
“I’ve followed his comments and put the effort into turning my ewes into well nourished and well-grown sheep,” Mr McCarten said.
“I do have better breeding ewes and they have big frames and cut well.”
The maidens now at 20 months had been joined for six weeks and would be scanned in another four weeks with Mr McCarten still deciding whether to join the empties back to Merinos or to White Suffolk rams.
“Having all one flock of Merinos makes for easier management and Merino lambs may not turn-off as quick as crossbreds, but I benefit from the extra wool as well at 7.08 kilograms,” he said. The Glen-Echo flock won the top award in 2010 and in 2018, and has been runner-up four times and placed third twice.
Returning judge Allan (Smoke) Dawson, Winyar stud, Canowindra, said he liked the ewes’ growth pattern.
“They’re good rangy types with plenty of neck extension, fair bit of leg under them, good spine and penty underneath,” he said.
“Their muzzle type suggests they are a good constitution type of sheep.”
Introductory judge, Henry Armstrong, Pemcaw stud, Dunedoo, agreed saying the ewes are impressive and all pretty even in type.
“All have good heads and not many are overdone.”
Impressed with the ewes’ feet, he said they were excellent. “With feet I look for both claws the same shape. If you get the feet right you don’t have too many problems.”