The next generation of woolbrokers, woolgrowers, consultants and livestock nutritionists gained a valuable insight into the sheep and wool industry at the 2018 Australian Wool Innovation National Merino Challenge, held on the weekend in Adelaide.
Nearly 130 secondary school and tertiary students converged on the Adelaide Showground from across Australia.For the first time it included a contingent from Tas.
The participants were assessed on seven practical skills, including wool valuing and AWEX typing, ram selection, condition scoring and feed budgeting.
Other highlights included the careers panel, as well as a mock auction where teams were given a budget to buy rams and ewes to suit their breeding objectives.
National Merino Challenge project manager Ben Watts said the event was a great success, particularly using young deliverers to deliver the sessions this year.
“They (the participants) are looking at them and saying that could be me in four or five years,” he said.
He said the event, now in its sixth year, aimed to inspire young people to consider a career in the industry.
“Even if they don’t go on they walk away with a set of industry relevant tools,” he said.
“Whether they go back to a stud or to a workplace or a family farm they have learnt skills that apply to both the stud and commercial industry.”
Mr Watts said the wool market’s meteoric price rise was driving enthusiasm for the sector, but it was the favourable long-term outlook, for both sheep and wool, which was giving school leavers the confidence to consider a career in the industry.
The 2019 National Merino Challenge will be held in Sydney on May 25 and 26.