The best of the best are set to flock to Melbourne in September to compete for the coveted blue ribbons and the honour of winning at the 2023 Melbourne Royal Show Sheep Competition during Melbourne Royal’s 175th year.
With some 65 million sheep in Australia, taking out the top gong at a statewide event like the Melbourne Royal Show is no mean feat. Entries are now open for the Melbourne Royal Sheep Competition, an event steeped in more than 150 years of tradition that brings sheep producers and the next generation of farmers together.
The spotlight will be on the Suffolk breed this year, the feature breed, with additional classes and prizes set to celebrate the unique breed that has been proven for over 200 years.
Andrew Lakin, 27, from Allanwood Suffolks in Lancefield Victoria is particularly excited to showcase the breed – and hopefully back up last year’s Melbourne Royal success, which saw him take out supreme Suffolk, with an ewe with two lambs at foot.
The 27-year-old has been attending Melbourne Royal since before he could walk, watching on from the pram as his parents exhibited their Clydesdales. Andrew has been showing sheep at Melbourne since he was eight, but with the 175th year celebrations and Suffolks taking centre stage, it’s set to be a particularly special one for the Suffolk breeder.
“I’m extremely keen for Suffolks to be featured, personally it’s my first show showing Suffolks when they’re a feature breed so I’m really looking forward to it,” Andrew said.
“Suffolks are a really hardy breed, adaptable to any condition, great on the prime lamb side of things and they yield exceptionally well, so I’m looking forward to sharing them with the public.”
Andrew will have a team of 14 Suffolk sheep in the ring and will be busily shearing and preparing the sheep to be in tip top shape in the weeks leading up to the show.
With more than $25,000 in cash, prizes and trophies to be won, the Melbourne Royal Sheep Competition sees the presentation of a number of prestigious awards.
Finley High School took out the coveted Interbreed Champion Ram at last year’s show and will be returning this year off the back of a strong performance at the recent NSW Poll Dorset Championships in Cowra, NSW where they won reserve champion ewe.
“The school stud has been operating for 21 years and it’s always great to benchmark against the bigger studs, so we’re so certainly looking forward to the Melbourne Royal Show,” agriculture teacher Robyn O’Leary said.
Entries for the Melbourne Royal Sheep Competition close Thursday, August 10.
About the Melbourne Royal Sheep Competition
The Melbourne Royal Sheep Competition celebrates stud breeders of wool, dual purpose and meat breed sheep. The competition attracts sheep breeders from across Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania, providing an opportunity for producers to network and engage with consumers.
For more information about the competition visit https://www.melbourneroyal.com.au/sheep/