A total of 550 students, 58 schools and 348 wethers from around the state flocked to Dubbo for the NSW School Wether Challenge last week, run by NSW Stud Breeders and Australian Wool Innovation.
Schools travelled as far as the Northern Rivers, Cobar, and the Murray to compete in the challenge, which has been running for 14 years, for the hands on experience and insight into the commercial production of Merino sheep.
The 58 high schools were allocated six wethers to prepare for six months, with the idea of the students learning a wide range of skills within sheep and wool industry, 20 of these schools being first time contenders.
At the end of the six months, students then bring the wethers back to compete in the competition at Dubbo, where they are compared against other schools.
Classes included the competition ranged from restocker value, commercial wool value where the sheep were side sampled and shorn and fleece weight recorded, with the final class on the mat was pen of three shorn lambs to give the students of a paddock to plate experience.
The two-day show also included a careers panel with five young professionals talking with groups of students.
There were workshops covering wool typing and classing, ultrasound pregnancy testing, working dogs and a fun young farmers challenge.
Event organiser Ben Watts, Bralca, Molong, said Fletchers International, Dubbo, were a strong supporter judging the meat class while having staff on hand both days.
"Fletchers also processed a small group of lambs so students could see carcasses in the chiller, along with processing all lambs and recording individual carcass details at the end of the show," Mr Watts said.
"So schools could see the full value of sheep from restockers, shearing and processed carcasses."
For the restocker component Mendooran Central School placed first, with Hennessy Catholic College, Young, second and St Catherines Catholic College, Singleton, third.
Deniliquin High School won the wool value classes, with St Matthew's Catholic College, Mudgee, claiming second and Kyogle High School placed third.
In the carcase value classes, Parkes High School was first, St John Catholic College, Dubbo, second, and third was Deniliquin High School.
Deniliquin High School won the combined value section, with Parkes High School coming in second and Coleambally Central School third.
The overall champion school was awarded to Deniliquin High School, Deniliquin, with the encouragement award to St Pauls College, Walla Walla.
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