A CLEVE Area School team will fly out of Port Lincoln on Friday, May 26 to compete in this year’s National Merino Challenge.
The challenge is an enterprising competition initiated by Australian Wool Innovation which aims to test the expertise of secondary and tertiary agriculture students in competencies in the merino sheep industry.
The competition attracts the best agriculture students and this year will be held at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds.
Cleve Area School agriculture coordinator Aleks Suljagic said students were challenged across a range of industry practices including the use of Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) in ram and ewe selection for a specified enterprise scenario, supplementary feed calculations and fleece and oddment description according to AWEX standards.
Held over two days, the challenge highlights the merino industry with a formal industry dinner on the Saturday evening, and a careers forum including the shearing industry and the role of research, genetics and the wool and merino sheep meat industry.
“To give our team the best advantage, we have been fortunate in securing a day-long workshop employing the expertise of Michelle Cousins from Cousins Merino Services; this will be held at Sims Farm on Thursday May 18,” Mr Suljagic said.
Last week the team travelled to Landmark’s Port Augusta wool store for intense wool classing training.
“We were fortunate to secure the expertise of Landmark’s Wool technical manager Adrian Dewell, who is based at Jamestown, and he gave our team some valuable insight into AWEX wool typing and fleece pricing calculation,” Mr Suljagic said.
“Industry experts deserve our huge thank you for offering their help.”
He said it had been a challenge to fund the trip to Melbourne and it could not happen without the help from sponsors.
“I would like to acknowledge the generous financial support of MP Peter Treloar’s office, Landmark, Elders Cleve, PIRSA, the students and their parents and caregivers and Sims Farm Operations Association.
“We have competed at Melbourne and Adelaide NMCs in previous years; this year Cummins Area School’s team will also represent SA and Eyre Peninsula,” he said.