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Dohne Merino’s win back to back prime lamb competition

As well as being the state’s premier sheep show, it’s the longest continuing country show in Australia. This year there was an air of excitement that hasn’t been felt on the showgrounds for many years, as the show celebrated its 175th birthday.

But the excitement was down to another reason too, as the region, which has been hit hard by the decline of the wool industry, is now on the cusp of momentous change and hopefully prosperity due to a multi-million-dollar irrigation scheme that will soon be adding water to sheep country.

When the wool industry crashed 22 years ago, farmers in Tasmania’s wool heartland, the Midlands, thought the bad times might last a few years, and the good prices would return. But that never happened, forcing many to diversify into cropping and prime lambs. Wool sheep numbers plummeted as growers scaled back or got out of the industry altogether.

Richard Johnston is the new face of Midlands agriculture. He’s fourth generation and the family property at Longford used to be all about wool. Now it’s prime lambs, cropping and wool.

175th  Birthday celebration