When I was offered the opportunity to attend Sheepvention 2019 at Hamilton showgrounds in western Victoria with the Hardman Communications team, I enthusiastically accepted the invitation.
Sue, Alex and I were on the road to Hamilton before dawn, traveling through prime sheep grazing and broadacre crop country as the sun rose over the magnificent Grampians mountain range. The countryside was a picturesque green with full dams and water laying in the paddocks. We even spotted a 4WD utility bogged in the mud. This scenario is a vast difference to what we are experiencing in other parts of Australia right now.
Whilst Sue and Alex were busy meeting up with company directors, media and industry clients, my brief was to explore the showground canvassing potential new business opportunities; scope out industry trends and find the sheep with the softest wool!
Hardman Communications was at Sheepvention to launch a new pour-on lice treatment for sheep for an international client. I learnt that approximately 20% of any flock can contain lice and the product is a preventative treatment for animal health and wellbeing after shearing.
Sue addressed the crowd and invited them into the marquee to hear guest speakers and then closed out the forum with questions from the crowd, giving the client the chance to answer technical queries. Alex coordinated media throughout the day and ensured the client had the opportunity to talk to key media about the new product.
All in all, Hardman Communications presented what looked like a successful product launch and I was pleased to be a part of it.
Sheepvention was much more than just all things sheep though. There were sheepdog trials, agricultural machinery, heavy vehicles, implements, tools, fashion, produce, food and entertainment for the crowd to explore.
On farm WH&S seemed to be a key industry concern. I noted sheep handling lifts and cradles and material handling equipment that featured attachments to reduce manual handling and injuries.
Also of particular interest to me was fencing materials made from recycled product and apps for water saving and remote monitoring.
My expertise became invaluable during the drive back to the airport. The car got a punctured tyre. Alex supervised my fifteen-minute wheel change and we were back on the highway, albeit now limited to an 80km/h speed due to the space saver spare wheel. We made it to the airport with minutes to board the aeroplane home!
For interest, my prize for the sheep with the softest wool goes to a one and a half year old Drysdale ewe from Moorngag Victoria - even the judges agreed. The Drysdale is bred for specialist carpet wool, so that’s a good indicator!
Carl Robinson - Intern-for-a-day