Students inspired at Riverina Wether Challenge Education Day

Students inspired at Riverina Wether Challenge Education Day

Wool
Ben Watts, AWI, Ian Cameron, The Yanko, Jerilderie and Jamie Gawne (Teacher from Narrandera High School) . Photo: provided

Ben Watts, AWI, Ian Cameron, The Yanko, Jerilderie and Jamie Gawne (Teacher from Narrandera High School) . Photo: provided

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Supported by Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), the NSW Stud Merino Breeders’ Association delivered the Riverina Wether Challenge Education Day on Tuesday 27th February.

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Supported by Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), the NSW Stud Merino Breeders’ Association delivered the Riverina Wether Challenge Education Day on Tuesday 27th February.

Sixty-one students from six schools attended the event that was held at the Camerons’ property “The Yanko” near Jerilderie.

The education day is a lead-up event to the National Merino Challenge (NMC) which will be held in Adelaide in May.

Woolgrower Ben Watts delivered the event and said, “it was fantastic to see regional schools participating in a hands-on event and the number of students that attended was greater than we expected. Riverina schools are already working together with us to deliver a bigger event next year.”

The schools involved were Hillston Central School, Narrandera High School, Yanko Agricultural High School, Hay War Memorial High School, Coleambally Central School and St Paul’s College of Walla Walla.

The morning was spent in the wool shed where the students examined different fleeces and were shown wool that ranged between 15 and 22 micron. They assessed the style of the wool and were taught how to judge it for its colour, cleanliness, length, crimp and micron. The students will need these skills to prepare for the NMC.

Briony Fattore, the Science and Agriculture Teacher at Coleambally Central School took six of her students for the first time to the event and said, “it was great for the students to learn from professionals in the industry”.

“Four of my students have backgrounds in meat sheep and two have had no experience at all in sheep so the day was extremely interesting for all of them to understand Merino wool and the characteristics and qualities it holds,” she said.

“The students enjoyed going out to The Yanko and having the hands-on experience of assessing the wethers and the wool. Practical knowledge about how to perform condition scoring and assessment of sheep conformation and wool traits is really important – you couldn’t learn this in a classroom.”

Ian Cameron hosted the event and said, “It was great to host such a large group of students and staff travelling big distances to be at The Yanko. They showed great enthusiasm getting hands on with the sheep and a willingness to learn about the wool industry.”

The wethers were provided by Egelabra Merino Stud and each team of students have been given three wethers to take back to their respective schools.

Using the knowledge that they acquired at the Riverina Wether Challenge Education Day, the students will train the wethers for the show ring and teach them to lead, as well as use the nutritional knowledge they learnt on the day to put weight and muscle on their sheep so they are in the best condition. This experience will help equip the students with the knowledge required to compete well in the National Merino Challenge.

  • If your school wants to get involved in next year’s Riverina Wether Challenge Education Day contact Ben Watts on 0428668706 or ben@bralca.com
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