WHILE the 2020 Royal Adelaide Show has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SA Stud Merino Sheep Breeders' Association's annual show week events - the Schools' Merino Wether Competition and the Adelaide Stud Merino and Poll Merino Ram Sale - will be business as usual in the sheep pavilion.
The Schools' Merino Wether Competition, scheduled to be judged on Wednesday, September 9, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, with 38 schools entering 67 teams totalling more than 200 wethers.
The competition encourages young people to become familiar with, learn about and to possibly pursue a career within the Merino industry, through opportunities within the SA Merino fraternity.
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Competition coordinator Stephen Kellock said the Royal Agricultural & Horticultural Society of SA had been very supportive of efforts to run the 2020 wether competition in its customary form, albeit having a COVID-19 contingency plan in place.
"We were keen to try and stay ahead of the game and keep the wether programs in each of the school ag programs this year, with a view to finishing with the traditional competition at the end of it," he said.
Mr Kellock said there would be slight changes to the judging format, with judging divided into six sections, to give competing teams more space to show and handle their sheep.
The organisers are also considering a scaled-down presentation format, with a single handler and animal representing each school, rather than the entire team congregating on the board.
Following on from the Schools' Merino Wether Competition, the annual Adelaide Stud Merino and Poll Merino Ram Sale will be held on Friday, September 11.
The sale is touted as one of the world's most successful multi-vendor Merino and Poll Merino sales and has been held annually at Wayville since 1947 in its present format.
Known as a 'mecca' for quality Merino and Poll Merino rams, the sale has a very strong following from both stud and commercial clients seeking to invest in quality genetics, with the 2020 sale shaping up to be no exception.
Merino SA president Nick Wadlow is predicting similar sale numbers to the 2019 sale - with 75 rams nominated at the last count, and a few more expected to come.
"We've had a very good number of nominations to-date, with plenty of support from existing vendors and some new vendors who have come on board as well," he said.
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"As primary producers are considered an essential service, we were never in any doubt that we were going to run the annual Merino ram sale and knew we'd be able to hold it in one form or another.
"Vendors are currently liaising with prospective buyers by supplying videos and online descriptions of the sale rams.
"AuctionsPlus will again have a platform at the 2020 sale, enabling the option of online bidding for buyers who can't attend the sale in person."
Sale rams will be available for pre-inspection from 1pm to 5pm on Thursday, September 10, and again the following day from 9am until just prior to the 1pm sale time.
- Details: merinosa.com.au
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