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TAS Country : November 4th 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010 Tasmanian Country 7 Royal Hobart Show WINNING WAYS: Kevin Baker and Narelle Webberley with the Champion Southdown Ewe and Ram at the recent Royal Hobart Show. Southdown double for Kevin JENNIFER CRAWLEY SHEEP breeder Kevin Baker picked up the Champion Southdown Ram and Ewe honours at the 2010 Royal Hobart Agricul- tural Show. Kevin runs 60 breeding Poll Dorset ewes and 40 Southdown breeding ewes at his Maccelslie Park stud at Penna in the state's South-East. Kevin started breeding sheep in 1981 and has been breeding Southdowns for eight years. ''I am very happy with the South- downs,'' he said. Kevin also won the Champion South- down Ram and Ewe titles at the Launces- ton Show. ''That takes some doing,'' he said. In 2008, he won the Supreme Interbreed Poll Dorset in Hobart and Launceston. Last year his Dorset rams topped the average for Dorset sales in the state, fetching an average price of $911 each. Kevin said there were only six South- down breeders in Tasmania, three in the North and three in the South. ''We're a dying breed,'' he said. The Southdown is a dual-purpose Brit- ish sheep, but is raised primarily for meat. The Southdown breed was originally bred about 200 years ago. It was exported to New Zealand and was used in the breeding of the Canterbury Lamb. Nine Southdown rams and 26 Poll Dorset rams will be on sale at Macclesie Stud on November 17. The rams are of breeding size for commercial lamb producers. Cattle sale still packs punch MIXED BAG: While cattle numbers were down at the Royal Hobart Show, quality was good. Picture: LEIGH WINBURN JENNIFER CRAWLEY PENNA cattle producer Rob Morey says the commercial cattle sale at the Royal Hobart Show is still a strong attraction. Mr Morey said numbers were down this year in the trade section with 64 entries, compared with 90 last year, but the quality was still there. ''There was good attendance of pro- ducers and buyers from the meat trade at the auction of cattle and lambs,'' Mr Morey said. ''The seats were full.'' Last week Tasmanian Country re- ported on empty cattle stalls in the stud cattle pavilion and the lack of compe- tition at the show. ''There were heaps of dairy goats, the sheep shed was full, there were lots of chooks, and there were lots of things to say and do,'' Mr Morey said. ''Certainly we have to face up to the fact that we haven't got enough cattle exhibitors -- no one knows the answer to that.'' He said cattle producers should use the show to promote their industry. Mr Morey said thousands of people walked through the cattle pavilion. ''It's good to be able to talk to them about the industry.'' And Mr Morey said the show gave producers the chance to bring some- thing from their farms to Hobart. Cattle producer Helen Brock said agricultural shows had suffered be- cause modern technology such as Breedplan and objective measurement enabled seed stock producers to pro- mote their animals directly to buyers on farms without exhibiting them at shows. ''Years ago the show was their sales pitch,'' Ms Brock said. ''People would come and look at their animals and purchase them, but there's no need for them to do that now because of technology.'' However, producers such as Ms Brock still travel to shows because they can compare their animals against other breeders' exhibits. ''I still go to mainland shows because you can promote your breed from your own state,'' she said. Mr Morey said commercial cattle sales let farmers compare cattle sold at weekly sales with cattle at the shows. ''The commercial cattle section is in the real world of farming,'' he said. ''It's for the average farming folk and it brings quite a few farmers to the show.'' Mr Morey said it would be much easier to run the commer- cial sales at the Bridgewater saleyards or at an abattoir. He said both venues had better facilities. ''It's one of the few aspects of real agriculture that still hap- pens at the showgrounds,'' Mr Morey said. ''But a big effort is made to do itattheshowinfrontofa broader audience.'' Roberts auctioneer Philip Brazendale runs the commercial cattle sale at the Royal Hobart Show. Mr Brazendale said prices this year were extremely good and there had been strong demand, with the sale well-supported by the trade, mainly local butchers. ''So many people don't get the opportunity to see anything agricultural,'' Mr Brazendale said. '' Unfortunately we've become a very city-bound society. ''There are lots of people who like to see the other side of things and there's nowhere else where they will see it. ''I think there is certainly a place for the agricultural side of it to continue. ''There's a place for it at all the shows.'' 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