Deniliquin Pastoral Times

SCHOOL’S TOP RE­SULT

- By OLIVIA DUFFEY Deniliquin · New South Wales · Australian Wool Innovation Limited

Merino sheep raised by the De­niliquin High School’s agri­cul­ture team have been judged among the best wethers in the state.

The school placed sec­ond over­all in the NSW School Merino Wether Chal­lenge, and placed first in the Rive­rina.

As part of the chal­lenge, par­tic­i­pat­ing schools were gifted seven Merino wether lambs and the ag teams were solely re­spon­si­ble for their diet and health for six months.

The fi­nal judg­ing was meant to be hosted by De­niliquin High School last month, but be­cause of COVID-19 re­stric­tions it was can­celled.

All sheep were in­stead sent back to Dubbo for judg­ing.

The wethers cared for by Deni High’s team one were judged to have a to­tal value of $1207.25, rank­ing them first in the Rive­rina out of 20 teams from 10 schools.

It was the sec­ond high­est value from 100 teams com­pet­ing across the state, from 50 schools.

Deni High’s team two fin­ished tenth in the Rive­rina.

Judges looked at three key fea­tures when judg­ing the en­tries — the sheep them­selves, their wool and car­case value.

Deni’s top team recorded $515 (sec­ond in the Rive­rina) in sheep value, $215.93 (third in Rive­rina) for wool value and $476.33 (sec­ond in Rive­rina) in car­case value.

Their best lamb weighed 69kg had 14mm fat depth, 22 eye mus­cle depth and pro­duced 8.4kg fleece at 19.6 mi­cron

De­niliquin High School agri­cul­ture teacher Emily Pearn said stu­dents per­formed well, rais­ing qual­ity lambs for the chal­lenge.

She said what they learned this year would be put in to prac­tice for next year's com­pe­ti­tion, where the school hoped to im­prove on its re­sults.

‘‘The stu­dents have been re­spon­si­ble for the health and well­be­ing of the wethers, ad­just­ing their diet, mon­i­tor­ing their weight gain and teach­ing them to lead with the aim of pro­duc­ing a com­mer­cially pro­duc­tive an­i­mal,’’ Mrs Pearn said.

‘‘Stu­dents learned about cur­rent in­dus­try prac­tice and got hands on ex­pe­ri­ence draft­ing and yard­ing sheep.

‘‘One of the things we iden­ti­fied was in­vest­ing in a big­ger feeder so there is more room for the sheep to gain bet­ter ac­cess to the pel­lets, and we would like to thank the Malin fam­ily who have just re­cently do­nated a Bro­mar lick­feeder.

‘‘We also iden­ti­fied in­ac­cu­racy in our data col­lec­tion and shel­ter as ar­eas of im­prove­ment, and are look­ing to in­vest in a set of sheep scales and build a new shel­ter in the pad­dock.’’

Stu­dents in­volved in the pro­gram said they had fun learn­ing about the Merino wethers and hav­ing the op­por­tu­nity to take part in the hands on ex­pe­ri­ence.

‘‘I feel this pro­gram was a re­ally good ex­pe­ri­ence as it gives stu­dents who are not fa­mil­iar with the sheep in­dus­try and in­sight into what it is all about,’’ Tay­lor Wilkin­son said.

‘‘I feel we got a real taste of what it takes to bring up good sheep and what you should aim for,’’ Dun­can Hughes added.

‘‘I learnt a lot about nu­tri­tion and how to in­crease growth in mus­cle and fat. We all learnt how to stand sheep and lead them which was dif­fi­cult,’’ Jack Micheal said.

The an­nual com­pe­ti­tion is or­gan­ised by the NSW Stud Merino Breed­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, with sup­port from Aus­tralian Wool In­no­va­tion.

It aims to ed­u­cate and en­gage stu­dents on the com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion of Merino sheep by giv­ing them a mem­o­rable hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence cov­er­ing a broad range of sheep and wool pro­duc­tion skills.

The judg­ing at Dubbo was the cul­mi­na­tion of a pro­gram which saw stu­dents par­tic­i­pate in in­de­pen­dent school lessons with agri­cul­ture staff, and var­i­ous train­ing days ear­lier this year.

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 ??  ?? ■ Zara Macdon­ald, Tic O’Toole, Brad Poka, Alex Poka, Ebony Behs­man and Gra­cie Wil­lis with the school’s Merino wether lambs.
■ Zara Macdon­ald, Tic O’Toole, Brad Poka, Alex Poka, Ebony Behs­man and Gra­cie Wil­lis with the school’s Merino wether lambs.
 ??  ?? ■ RIGHT: Er­rol Horne­man from El­ders Ru­ral Ser­vices De­niliquin (far left) with Deni High ag team mem­bers (back, from left) Tic O’Toole, Zara Macdon­ald, Rosie North, So­phie Strong, Paige Birks, Lizzie Lostroh, Emma Grif­fiths, and Hay­ley Denny; (mid­dle) Cable Fitz­patrick, Jack Michael, Matthew Mor­ris, Alex Poka, Nathan Kelvey, Emily Pearn, Gen Dun­more and El­lie Fishlock; (front) Jack Richards, Dun­can Hughes, Brad Poka and Lachie Buck­ley.
■ RIGHT: Er­rol Horne­man from El­ders Ru­ral Ser­vices De­niliquin (far left) with Deni High ag team mem­bers (back, from left) Tic O’Toole, Zara Macdon­ald, Rosie North, So­phie Strong, Paige Birks, Lizzie Lostroh, Emma Grif­fiths, and Hay­ley Denny; (mid­dle) Cable Fitz­patrick, Jack Michael, Matthew Mor­ris, Alex Poka, Nathan Kelvey, Emily Pearn, Gen Dun­more and El­lie Fishlock; (front) Jack Richards, Dun­can Hughes, Brad Poka and Lachie Buck­ley.

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