A FLOCK of Caroonboon Poll-blood ewes has won this year's Peppin-Shaw ewe flock competition in the western Riverina.
Promoted as the biggest sheep judging event in the world, this year's competition attracted eight properties whose entire 2011 drop of ewes was assessed.
The Dowling family's Merritop Merino ewes won the top award for the fifth time.
Judges Cam Munro from the Egelabra Merino stud at Warren in NSW and Roger Polkinghorne from Charinga, Banavie and Gowandale Merinos at Marnoo commended the Merritop flock for its wool quality and structure of the sheep.
"These sheep are a credit to you," Mr Munro said. "The presentation is excellent, as is the quality of your rams."
The sheep are run on 16,500ha country north-west of Hay by Dan and Natalie Dowling, and stem from a Wanganella blood flock that has more recently had infusions of Sims Uardry and now Caroonboon Poll.
Mr Dowling said this, alongside heavy culling rates of up to 44 per cent, allowed them to increase the quality of their sheep.
The flock is classed by Ian Lilburne.
"We like a big animal with sweet wool," he said.
The Dowlings were judged the best entrant in the northern area, ahead of Graham and Helen Morphett's Yamba flock at Booligal, which is Alma blood.
Mr Morphett said his sheep were bred to always make a profit. "We need a Merino which will make money no matter what the season," he said.
Last year, the Yamba wool was judged the top clip at one of the sales, with lines of wool that had yields of up to 75 per cent and were judged in the best topmaking grade.
Last year, Yamba also sold Merino wether lambs at four months old for $4/kg, or $86 including the skin for a 20kg carcass weight line.
"We very clearly try to breed a true dual-purpose Merino 50 per cent of the returns may come from wool but the other 50 per cent comes from surplus sheep sales and meat," Mr Morphett said.
Third placing went to the Houston family's Budgewah flock, classed by Craig Wilson and Woodpark Poll blood.
And fourth placing went to Geoff and Jill Chapman, whose Bluebush Poll Merino flock is classed by Ian Lilburne.
The competition had one of the biggest crowds for years, according to organisers, who said many visitors travelled long distances.