Merino prep win sur­prise af­ter loss

Countryman - - NEWS - Zach Relph

WA Col­lege of Agri­cul­ture — Cun­derdin has snared the fifth Aus­tralian Wool Innovation Fu­ture Breed­ers Chal­lenge in a bold dis­play to snatch the gong from reign­ing cham­pi­ons Har­vey.

At the Perth Royal Show on Mon­day, Cun­derdin was de­clared win­ner over its Har­vey-based coun­ter­part, while WA Col­lege of Agri­cul­ture Den­mark rounded out the top-three in the her­alded Merino prepa­ra­tion com­pe­ti­tion.

The chal­lenge re­quired teams of stu­dents from each col­lege to care for six Merino wethers at their cam­pus farms for about six months, be­fore be­ing brought to the Clare­mont Show­grounds for judg­ing on the third day of the Show.

Stu­dents’ were as­sessed ac­cord­ing to wool and meat yield, com­mer­cial value, pre­sen­ta­tion and han­dling.

Cun­derdin, which won the in­au­gu­ral com­pe­ti­tion in 2014, emerged vic­to­ri­ous in this year’s event even though two Meri­nos died dur­ing the prepa­ra­tion phase.

WA Col­lege of Agri­cul­ture — Cun­derdin Year 12 stu­dent Bon­nie Telfer said the win came as a sur­prise, while prais­ing the school’s ef­forts prior to pre­sent­ing the Meri­nos.

“It was a harsh sea­son and our six sheep be­came four,” she said.

“The wool cut put us up there (and) hav­ing heavy weigh­ing sheep.”

Ja­cob Emin, Year 11, Jake Gar­lick and Ashton Hag­boom, both Year 12, were also a part of the win­ning Cun­derdin team along­side Miss Telfer.

Stud Merino Breed­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion of WA pres­i­dent Wayne But­ton, who was one of the com­pe­ti­tion’s of­fi­cials, said the com­pe­ti­tion of­fered a sense of ex­cite­ment for WA’s sheep sec­tor.

Mr But­ton said it demon­strated stu­dents’ will­ing­ness to join the sec­tor, which would have an ar­ray of jobs on of­fer once they grad­u­ated.

“It is great for the fu­ture of our in­dus­try, which is age­ing, to see so many keen and en­thu­si­as­tic young men and women,” he said.

“This helps broaden their hori­zons . . . it is ex­cit­ing and great to see younger peo­ple take a gen­uine in­ter­est.

“A lot of these kids don’t come from a farm­ing back­ground, but they’re keen to be in­volved, which is fan­tas­tic.”

Last week, Mr Gar­lick was un­veiled as one of five win­ners in the Perth Royal Show’s farm skills chal­lenge with Cun­derdin class­mates Mitchell Ap­ple­gate, James Thomas, Alex Linto and Ri­ley Hill.

Royal Agri­cul­tural So­ci­ety of WA pres­i­dent Paul Carter pre­sented the five stu­dents with the award.

Pic­ture: Zach Relph

Win­ners Ja­cob Emin, Bon­nie Telfer, Jake Gar­lick and Ashton Hag­boom.

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