Green light for WA Sheep Expo & Ram Sale

Green light for WA Sheep Expo & Ram Sale

Events
COVID-19 may have forced the cancellation of many events around the State this year but the WA Sheep Expo & Ram Sale won't be one of them. It is set to held at Katanning on August 20 and 21 with the ram sale closing out the event.

COVID-19 may have forced the cancellation of many events around the State this year but the WA Sheep Expo & Ram Sale won't be one of them. It is set to held at Katanning on August 20 and 21 with the ram sale closing out the event.

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The 2020 WA Sheep Expo & Ram Sale has survived and will go ahead on Thursday, August 20 and Friday, August 21, at Katanning.

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COVID-19 has certainly been extremely challenging to Australian agricultural shows, with most having to be cancelled in 2020.

However, the 2020 WA Sheep Expo & Ram Sale has survived and will go ahead on Thursday, August 20 and Friday, August 21, at Katanning.

The two-day event will have more than 30 Merino studs on display, show events as well as trade exhibitors and agricultural industry representatives onsite.

It will close with the all-important and long-standing ram sale.

The Great Southern Merino Sheepbreeders' Association has been hosting the event for more than 100 years and has survived two world wars and quite a few Australian wool crises - but the COVID-19 pandemic will go down in its history books as the biggest challenge yet.

Incoming president Grantly Mullan, Eastville Park stud, Wickepin, thought this year was going to be an easy one.

"Last year was one of the most successful shows we've had in quite a few years," Mr Mullan said.

"We had more than 500 sheep on display and the highest ram sale price since 2001.

"Our casual barbecue dinner in among the rams was something a bit different but it certainly paid off.

"The amount of positive feedback we had from everyone who attended put us in good stead for this year - until the coronavirus hit."

Mr Mullan said preparing for the WA Sheep Expo & Ram Sale, like most rural and regional agricultural events, was generally full-time, year-long work that included arranging sponsorship, organising entries for show events, liaising with trade exhibitors, engaging staff and volunteers and organising food vendors.

"Try achieving all this in lockdown and with regional borders closed," Mr Mullan said.

"It didn't look promising for us and our show at all when we tried to hold our first ever Zoom video meeting in lockdown back in March.

"In the end, we held our meeting by email and decided to postpone the decision to cancel our show until June.

"It has ended up being the best decision we could have made.

"And now we are at this stage, it has made it all much easier to hold our show."

Rabobank head of relationship management for southern WA Philip Edkins is a regular event supporter and is looking forward to attending again this year.

"Rabobank has always strived for face-to-face client contact, whether it be on farm or in the branch," Mr Edkins said.

"But I think the most enjoyable times for us are when we meet up with our clients at these agricultural shows and community events.

"We are just pleased to be able to be there this year."

Kolindale and Lewisdale-Corrigin stud breeder Luke Ledwith, Dudinin, will certainly be part of this year's show.

As the 2019 winner of the coveted Rabobank Trophy, as well as the supreme champion, he will be taking his best Merinos to see if he can make it two years in a row.

"It was great to be rewarded last year for all our hard work in preparing our show sheep, especially as it is not just myself, but my whole family and our staff who put in all the effort," Mr Ledwith said.

"Winning titles and trophies is great, especially when marketing your sheep to your clients, however I have said all along the best thing about the show is being able to talk to and learn from all the stud breeders on how to improve our stud."

The WA Sheep Expo & Ram Sale is held at the Katanning Leisure Centre and the ram pavilion is the largest enclosed indoor facility for displaying sheep outside of the Perth Claremont Showgrounds.

Mr Mullan said with the show less than two months away it would be in a slightly revised format, however their sponsors, stud breeders and stakeholders have been extremely loyal and know the constraints the committee has been under and are just pleased that the show was good to go.

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