STUDENTS from two Forbes schools are champions and runners-up for the second year running in the preparation and presentation of Merino wethers.
Red Bend Catholic College won the 2019 Schools Merino Wether Challenge overall pointscore with their first team of three lambs worth a total of $1542.81 or $514.27 each.
This was the college's second successive win in the competition which has been running for seven years and sponsored by the NSW Stud Merino Breeders Association and Australian Wool Innovation.
Not to be outdone, Red Bend College also produced the overall third placed team worth $1472.93 or $490.98 each.
Runner-up was Forbes High School's agricultural class's team 1 whose total return amounted to $1512.61 or $503.75 each or just $30.21 behind the Red Bend winning team.
This year 36 schools from throughout NSW and one from South Australia competed with many running two teams of wethers which are all sourced from the one commercial flock, Egelabra, Warren.
Co-ordinator of the contest, Ben Watts, said sourcing all wethers from the one flock gives each school equal opportunities and a total of 64 teams of three wethers competed.
Schools are given nutritional and other husbandry guides and each wether must be halter-broken for judging by showtime.
Wethers were distributed to schools in February and all but 10 schools competed at Dubbo. The 10 southern schools exhibited their teams at the Riverina Merino Field Days to save travelling expenses and student time away from home and schoolwork.
The competition is judged in three sections starting with sheep value with the Forbes High School team 1 winning the section at $412.00 or 137.33 each.
After shearing, carcase value is calculated with Red Bend's team 1 topping the section at $766.94 or $255.65 each.
Wool value is then calculated with Red Bend's team 2 winning this with an aggregate of $376.33 or $125.44 each fleece on average.
Dubbo South High's team 1 just pipped Dunedoo Central School's team 1 by only $3.84 in the overall score with the Dubbo team (fourth) groissing $1406.87 and Dunedoo (fifth) $1403.04.
Yeoval Central School was placed sixth at $130.17 with Wellington High School seventh at $1380.99..
Don Chad Wool, Dubbo, has volunteered its wool testing services for each year and the wethers are shorn by AWI shearing staff while students totalling some 300 later participated in junior judging competitions.