It's time for farmers to take a look at their lamb flocks and pick the best ones for the Hawke's Bay Show export lamb competition.

The competition is a feature of the show sheep section each year and after a great winter and spring in Hawke's Bay there should be plenty of eligible lambs.

There are two parts to the competition which is sponsored by Atkins Ranch and Progressive Meats Retail Ready programme.

The first is a new-season lamb competition for lambs under 6 months old.

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Entrants need to have three lambs of about equal size to produce a carcase of between 16kg and 23.9kg with a 3mm to 16mm GR. They will be judged on the hoof on the morning of Wednesday, October 23, before going to Progressive Meat to be judged on the hooks.

It can be difficult for many farmers in Hawke's Bay to get their lambs big enough for this class but it's ideal for those who lamb early.

Indicative live weights for this class are lambs between 34kg and 48kg.

The second class is the old-season lamb for last year's lambs. The emphasis in this class is on winter trading lambs that have not cut their adult teeth. They will also be judged on the hoof and then on hooks.

They must produce a carcase weighing from 18kg to 25.9kg with 4mm to 17mm GR. Indicative live weights for these lambs are from 40kg to 58kg.

Stock from hill-country farms which lamb later in the season are ideal for this class because competitors do not need to have bred the lambs entered.

Organising committee spokesman Murray Cranswick said the export lamb competition was a great opportunity to give entrants hands-on experience in selecting lambs for export markets.

Cranswick said the owner of the winning lambs would get the proceeds of the carcase sale while the person who prepared them would get the prize money.

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The competition is open to everyone, not just Progressive Meats' clients.

The lambs must be grass-fed, antibiotic-free and have full lifetime traceability. This means their ASD forms must be on hand.

Every lamb entered will be mouthed to check for eligibility.