Sheep classing workshops a hit in Walcha and Inverell

AWN livestock specialist Angus Laurie and agent Phil Goddard last week held two Merino sheep classing workshops for small groups of clients in the New England. With all essential social distancing practices in place, the workshops, presented by AWI’s Stuart Hodgson, provided a hands-on opportunity for participants to improve their sheep classing skills and knowledge.


Tuesdays’ workshop at “Waterloo Station” east of Walcha, owned by Ross, Penny and Henry King saw 25 young, forward-thinking wool growers and sheep breeders in attendance. A total of 15 seasoned growers attended Thursdays’ workshop at “St Hilary” north of Inverell, owned by Spike and Kirsty Wall.


Both workshops were attended by AWI Director, Jock Laurie, who provided valuable insights into the work that the industry body is doing for wool growers and sheep breeders.


The workshops consisted of a history and theory session in the morning, covering the origins of the Australia Merino and the breeding methods and philosophies that have led us to today’s Merino. Issues around wool marketing, wool and meat processing, pest management and flock management were also covered and discussed at length. The afternoon session provided participants with the opportunity to get hands-on, with a masterclass on how to approach and assess sheep, followed by a practical exercise in sheep classing.

Mr Angus Laurie said that participants were engaged throughout the workshops and came away with improved skills and knowledge in the classing of sheep and how to use this tool to improve productivity and profitability.


“The level of take-away knowledge varies greatly, from the confidence and ability to go home and class their own sheep for change, right through to a thought-provoking renewed enthusiasm for sheep breeding and a want to improve. If nothing else, the workshops allowed our clients to go home and look at their sheep through different eyes, look at their goals and make decisions around the focus of their business,” Mr Laurie said.


“Sheep classing is integral to the productivity and profitability of any sheep and wool business. Whether that be an ultra-fine wool operation or a second-cross prime lamb operation. In order to improve our businesses and their viability moving forward we need to be breeding and running profitable sheep. Sheep classing is a tool in the toolbox that is primary production and used correctly it can make a significant and positive impact on any business.”


Mr Laurie who is based in Armidale recently joined AWN, Australia’s largest independent wool broker, who is undertaking significant expansion of their livestock agency across Australia.

28 July 2020