University of New England student, Sarah Hain, came second overall at the recent Australian Wool Innovation’s 2016 National Merino Challenge after winning the breeding and selection component for tertiary students.
Sarah, a final year Bachelor of Rural Science student, was one of nine students from the School of Environmental and Rural Science to enter the competition that emphasises breeding and selection, wool classing, and pricing and sheep production.
Team leader and UNE academic, Dr Emma Doyle, accompanied the students who competed over two days against more than 140 secondary and tertiary students from all over Australia.
“The team performed extremely well and made the most of network opportunities with many industry representatives involved in the event,” Dr Doyle said.
“Besides the educational and practical learning experience of the challenge, the most exciting opportunity of the event was the chance to meet a panel of young, recently graduated professionals that are now working in the Australian sheep and wool industry.
“One of the seven panellists, UNE alumnus Will Chaffey who graduated with a Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Agriculture, is now employed by Elders as the District Wool Manager in Dubbo. Will gave the students great insight into his studies at UNE, work experience and how he gained his current position.”
Participating in the Australian Wool Innovation’s National Merino challenge provides practical application for the specialised industry-developed unit ‘Sheep production’ offered only at UNE.
UNE is also the only Australian university currently offering specialised sheep and wool units. Many of the participants from other universities at the challenge had attended UNE to undertake these wool units.
The event is now in its fourth year and it is rapidly gaining interest.
The 2017 challenge will be held in Melbourne on 27-28th May with two of the 2016 UNE team members participating again. They hope to encourage other passionate sheep and wool students to join them.
The team would like to thank Petali Merino stud for their support enabling them to participate in this event.