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 Hastings meat company Progressive Meats.
The first is a new-season lamb competition for lambs under six months old.
Entrants need to have three lambs of about equal size to produce a carcass of between 16kg and 22.9kg, with a 3mm to 16mm GR. They will be judged on the hoof on the morning of Monday, October 16, before going to Progressive Meats to be judged on the hook.
It can be difficult for many farmers in Hawke's Bay to get their lambs big enough for this class but it is 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 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 carcass weighing from 18kg to 25.9kg, with 3mm to 125mm 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.
"Rob Buddo's team from Poukawa have been cleaning up in the last few years and it's time they had some competition."
Mr Cranswick said the owner of the winning lambs would get the proceeds of the carcass sale, while the person who prepared them would get the prize money.
The competition is open to everyone, not just Progressive Meats' clients.
The lambs must be grass-fed, antibiotic-free and have full lifetime traceability. That means their ASD forms must be on hand.
Every lamb entered will be mouthed to check for eligibility.
¦Entries close on Friday, October 6, at 4pm. Entry forms can be found on the Hawke's Bay A and P Society's website - showgroundshawke's bay.co.nz. Then go to the Hawke's Bay on Show page, then the competitions page, where the entry forms can be found. Or email Rebecca McNutt: rebeccam@progressive meats.co.nz.