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Northen Southland farm owners Bevan and Wendy Hopcroft were ''rapt'' to receive the Overall Award at the West Otago Southland Ewe Hogget Competition.
The sheep farmers had entered twice previously, and always won their breed category - Crossbred Flock - but never the overall award, Mr Hopcroft said.
''It's a great thing to win and it's good to have some positive things in the sheep industry - it makes us try a bit harder on your young stock, and your young stock are the future.''
Mr Hopcroft said the good summer conditions favoured their stock, which meant the young stock were in a better condition.
''We also try to improve the stock through genetics and I have got a lot to thank for my ram breeder who has provided us with a good Blackdale Stud.''
NZ Ewe Hogget Competition committee secretary Noel Hamilton said 44 people entered the awards and 20 entrants were named as finalists.
While competition organisers always hoped for more, it was a good number of entrants, especially considering the number of farms which had been converted to dairy, Mr Hamilton said.
Judges gave entrants points for flock performance, quality of wool, breeding objectives, and genetics. The quality of the entries were impressive, he said.
''The total points at the awards night for all 20 flocks of sheep were all within two to three points.
''The overall winners were only one third of a point ahead of the others.
The quality is as good as we have had.''
The breed winners for the West Otago Southland Ewe Hogget Competition are: Romney: Robbie Selbie, Five Rivers.
Coopworth: Brian and Rochelle Falconer, Moa Flat Composite: Peter and Carol Bee, Wyndham.
Perendale: Alan and Leanne Woodrow, Waikana.
Large Flock: Clayton and Janette Peters, Moa Flat. The national Ewe Hogget Competition is held in conjunction with the West Otago Southland competition. Central Otago finalists for the national awards are: Brett and Natalie Burgess, Owaka, composite; Cameron Nicolson, Oturehua, composite; Simon Paterson, Ranfurly, fine wools; Mark Paterson, Ranfurly, crossbred.
The South Island finalists will be judged in early May. The national awards night is Friday, May 30, in Queenstown.