Spencer hosts national sheep sale
By Renae B. Vander Schaaf
Date Modified: 08/27/2012 2:29 PM
SPENCER, Iowa — Caroline Knoblock from Hartley had a busy and successful week.
The 17-year-old showed sheep at the O'Brien County Fair before moving on to the Center of the Nation National Sheep Improvement Program sale.
Knoblock exhibited the reserve champion, a purebred Dorset ewe, at the O'Brien County Fair.
Knoblock consigned one ram and three ewes from her 25-head flock for the NSIP sale. The teenager has a lot of experience.
"I bought my first sheep when I was eight years old from a family friend who owned a large flock of many different breeds," said Knoblock. "He sold me a polled Dorset ewe and a wether because they were easy keepers and grew well. I liked the ewe so much we had her bred and my sheep flock has grown from there."
Michigan State University brought 10 Suffolks and four Dorsets to Spencer. Alan Culham brought the sheep to the sale.
"MSU has the reputation for the fastest growing sheep,'' Culham said. "In 2008 we had lamb that grew to 203 pounds in 120 days. Our sheep possess the most premier growth genetics in the world."
Many sheep producers look for growth and good mothering instincts in ewes.
Bob Padula, a producer from Montevideo, Minn., is also interested in wool. He has a Targhee flock. The breed is dual purpose.
"They meet the needs of the industry," said Padula, adding that Targhees are known for meat and excellent wool production.
Padula uses rotational grazing techniques. The flock is watered through dugout ponds, piping or by trucking water in. The ewes lamb in May, timed perfectly with grass growth on his farm.
A yearling ram owned by Padula earned the Grand Champion NSIP Ram Award at the National Targhee Show and Sale in Columbus, Mont., earlier this year. Other rams were grand champions in 2002, 2003, 2007, and 2008.