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Beyond the Bale : September 2013
30 30 30 ON-FARM Techniques from several well-known industry initiatives, such as MERINOSELECT, Lifetime Ewe Management, Bredwell Fedwell and Visual Sheep Scores, were used throughout the NMC, giving students a realistic and practical insight into the tools available to growers to make more informed decisions. Tom Tourle, from Dubbo’s TAFE Western Institute, was one of many students who enjoyed the weekend of learning. “It has been a great weekend, we’ve learnt so much about Merinos and wool which has been very valuable,” Tom said. “Before this event I was interested in a career in the wool and sheep industry, and the NMC has convinced me of it.” Competition was fierce across both the secondary school and tertiary divisions, with Samuel Barnes from Yanco Agricultural High School winning the secondary school division and Nicola Turner from University of New England (UNE) taking out the tertiary division. Yanco Agricultural High School was the Champion Team in the secondary school division, whilst UNE came out on top in the tertiary division. Participating schools, TAFEs and universities were: All Saints’ College, Bathurst; Bombala High School, Bombala; Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga; Picton High School, Picton; TAFE Riverina Institute, Wagga Wagga; TAFE Western Institute, Dubbo; University of New England, Armidale; WA College of Agriculture, Harvey; Woodleigh School, Langwarrin; and Yanco Agricultural High School, Yanco. A highlight of the program was the National Merino Challenge Industry Dinner held on Saturday night at Macdonald & Co Woolbrokers and attended by more than 130 people. Adding to the atmosphere of holding a Merino industry dinner in a wool store, there was excitement in the air as the participants had the chance to meet woolgrowers, woolbrokers and researchers. AWI would like to thank the 2013 NMC supporters – TAFE Western, Macdonald & Co Woolbrokers, Avington Farm, Future Farmers Network, Advanced Farm Systems, Haddon Rig, Australian Wool Network and Roseville Park – for making this event possible, as well as the dedicated volunteers who donated their sheep, time and expertise to the 2013 NMC. More information: www.wool.com/NMC FAST FACTS l AWI’s inaugural National Merino Challenge (NMC) was a success, with more than 50 students from across Australia heading to Dubbo to compete in the educational initiatives. l The NMC connected the future of the wool industry with industry professionals, highlighting an array of careers which involve working with wool. l Yanco Agricultural High School was the Champion Team in the secondary school division, whilst University of New England was the Champion Team in the tertiary division. Picton High School student Katie Burton trying her hand at fleece throwing. September 2013 BEYOND THE BALE NEXT GENERATION FLOCKS TO THE NATIONAL MERINO CHALLENGE More than 50 students from 10 schools, colleges, universities and TAFEs from across Australia last month met for the inaugural National Merino Challenge (NMC) in Dubbo, NSW. An AWI initiative, the NMC involves presentations and demonstrations from industry professionals to allow young people to develop their industry knowledge, skills and networks. Students participated in seven ‘mini-challenges’ across two days, testing their knowledge of Merino fleece, production and breeding and selection. The mini challenges were: 1. AWEX typing 2. Wool valuing 3. Visual score assessment 4. Condition scoring 5. Calculate ewe nutrition and feed budget 6. Ewe selection 7. Ram selection