• Loddon Herald

The supreme pen


THREE peas in a pod - it’s a mighty challenge that Calivil’s John Humbert masters from his 600 merino stud ewes at at Kedleston Park.

Since first entering the Loddon Valley Field Day pen-of-three ram lamb competition in 2006, John has taken out the award six times, with a quite a few placings along the way.

John rates the award as equivalent to bagging the sup-reme champion ribbon at major shows in Bendigo, Ballarat and Dubbo.

And last month, not only did he again impress the field day competition judges, it marked back-to-back wins.

“The first year we displayed at the field days, we won,” John said.

“We look for our best three even lambs to enter. This year we had three picked out the night before and then swapped one over on the morning. It worked!

““The standard is always very high and you look to enter lambs that will attract the eye of judges with their even wool type.

“The rams are top notch. Finding two even animals is pretty straight forward, the third is harder.

“As nothing is cloned, you look over the flock a fair bit to find those three peas in a pod.”

John says the field day success “acknowledges we are on the right track and we get a lot of enjoyment being part of it”.

John and wife Rosemary registered their Kedleston Park merino and poll merino stud in 2006,

However, they have been farming at Calivil for almost 50 years.

An early win in the Victorian Flock of the Year competition in 1994 prompting stud registration and immediate success when they entered the show circuit in 2006 have been defining moments for the 600 sheep stud and a flock that now numbers 4300.

He says the Loddon Valley Field Day is a good “shop window for stud sales later in the year.”

Shearing in March and September each year, John said, made it difficult for March-shorn sheep to win supreme champion at major shows. “It would have to be a rather exceptional animal to win.

“So in a sense, our consistent successes at Loddon Valley Field Day in the pen of three is for us, winning supreme champion with our March-shorn sheep,” he said. “But we’re still working on cracking one at the major shows.”

Kedleston Park’s rams are now regularly sold to all areas of Victoria, southern New South Wales and even Western Australia.

John said there was continuing strong demand from buyers in the Western District and also around central Victoria.

“I guess good news spreads quickly,” he said.

Kedleston Park breeds robust, quick-maturing large-framed, fertile sheep with high genetic fat and muscle to produce high-yielding carcasses.

The fleece micron is between 18.5 and 20.4 and the average fleece cut is around 9kg, a target again on the mark for shearing that finished at Kedle-ston Park a fortnight ago.

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