By DAVID HILL
Charles Miller-Brown admits he considered scratching his champion 3-year-old Suffolk ram from the New Zealand Agricultural Show.
The Amberley farmer was surprised to win supreme champion meat sheep with a ram he considered leaving at home after it was beaten at the Amberley A&P Show last month.
Mr Miller-Brown says it is the biggest win he and partner Emma Simpson have enjoyed since taking over the Limavady Suffolk Stud from Ms Simpson’s parents four years ago.
They began the year well, winning supreme champion sheep at the Banks Peninsula A&P Show in January with the same ram, which was bred by James Gardiner of the Pinegrove Suffolk Stud at Broomfield, near Amberley.
“The judge said he was ‘a very well-balanced sheep and he stands very well’, which is important because a meat sheep needs to be able to eat and walk,” Mr Miller-Brown says.
“He’s structurally sound and he’s got a good carcass.”
The couple run 350 stud ewes across four stud breeds, Suffolk, white Dorpher, Southdown and Texel.
They enjoyed a successful show last week, claiming best and second-best carcass meat sheep with a Suffolk ram hogget and a white Dorpher ram.
West Eyreton farmer John Burrows’ Dorset Down ram hogget was runner-up to the supreme champion meat sheep, with the ram hogget also jointly winning the best meat breed pair competition with a Dorset Down
ewe entered by Heriot farmer Fraser Fletcher.
“It’s the best show we’ve ever had.”
Mr Burrows says the ram hogget will be going on sale at the Canterbury A&P Association ram fair on Friday, November 30.
He runs 120 Dorset Down stud ewes with his partner Anastacia Hurndell, who breeds Southdown sheep.
His father Tom Burrows has Corriedale and Perendale sheep studs “and we all help each other out”.
Mr Burrows said it was a busy week, beginning with a working bee at the showgrounds on the Sunday before the show, with the sheep being transported to the showgrounds on Tuesday and returning to the farm on the Friday evening after the show.
After coming up through the junior judging ranks himself, and competing in Australia twice, Mr Burrows is turning his attention to supporting other young people, giving advice on stock judging to 16 students from Geraldine High School on the Friday of the show.