Emma Northey (EJ Northey) of ‘Millview’, Tullibigeal has won the 43rd Don Brown Memorial Merino Ewe Competition on her inaugural attempt.
In 2023, eight properties opened their gates and gave an insight into their operations.
Judges for the competition were Richard Chalker, Lach River Merino Stud, Darby’s Falls; and Patrick Davis, Demondrille Merino Stud, Harden. Associate Judge (sponsored by Moses and Son) was Rachel Pritchard of Young.
The winning entry was presented at the annual Don Brown dinner, at the Condobolin Sports Club on Tuesday, 21 February.
Emma’s winning flock was classed by Michael Elmes. The 24-year-old presented a line of 235 2021-drop Belswick-blood ewes, which were joined for May-June lambing and had been shorn in August last year.
The Jones Family, ‘Booroola’, Condobolin (Mark, Carol and Brad Jones) took home second spot. Their flock of 630 Lachlan Merino-blood ewes were classed by Glen Rubie, Lachlan Merinos, Forbes.
Karu Pastoral Pty Ltd, ‘Big Weebah’ Condobolin (Phillip, Bernadette, Harold and Meg Crouch) secured third place. The 400 home-bred ewes were classed by Chris Bowman.
The John Coy Memorial Award for Achievement went to McDonald Bros Farming (James, David and Graham McDonald), of ‘North Condobolin’. Their 940 The Yanko-blood ewes were classed by Michael Elmes.
Wardlee Pastoral Co (Des, Sandra and Clint Ward) of ‘Berrilee’ Tullamore were recognised with the Ian Munro Memorial Perpetual Award for best short wool flock. Their 919 ewes of Bundemar blood were classed by Tom Kirk.
The Gordon McMaster Classer’s Award went to Michael Elmes.
The many generous sponsors who supplemented the costs of the day and prizes were led by Diamond sponsors Australian Wool Innovation and Rabobank, Dynon Wools, Elanco, Moses and Son and Quality Wool.
Gold sponsors were Olsson’s Industries, Clive Swanston and Jurox Animal Health; and Silver, Coopers Animal Health, The Land newspaper, Lachlan Shire Council, Barend Cronje and Allflex. Bronze sponsors included Wanganella and Poll Boonoke Studs, Zoetis, Bundemar Merino Stud and Maspro.
Between the years of 1979 and 2023, some 389,665 sheep have been viewed during the Competition. The most entries in the Don Brown were in 1990, when there were 33. There has been a total of 21,423 kilometres travelled during this time and overall, there has been a total of 4422 spectators involved.
The honour of the most wins in the Competition goes to the Crouch Brothers with eight followed by JN and CM L’Estrange with four.
The most successful winning bloodlines since 1979 include Mungadal (8), Genanegie (4) and now Belswick, also elevated to 4 wins.
The classer with the most wins has been the late Gordon McMaster (15), Chris Bowman (6), and Barry Crouch (5).
Emma (EJ Northey) will now contest the 23rd annual Central Western Association of Agricultural Shows Merino Ewe Competition against the winners from Trundle and Parkes on Thursday, 2 March.