The wool industry's next generation is set to take up the challenge this weekend with more than 160 entries accepted for the 2019 National Merino Challenge.
The National Merino challenge provides young people with an understanding of the career opportunities within the sheep and wool industries and delivers basic skills of appraisal using both traditional and modern methods.
AWI's General Manager of Operations Nigel Gosse said the National Merino Challenge is a two-day, national competition which improves the engagement of young people with the Merino industry by developing their knowledge, skills and networks.
"The competition has established itself as a leading education program for students interested in a career in the wool industry," Mr Gosse said.
"During the two-day event, students are introduced to and then assessed on their skills across a wide range of areas such as feed budgeting, condition scoring, breeding objectives, wool harvesting together with the commercial assessment and classing of animals and fleeces.
"The program has a strong history of success and continues to grow in popularity each year, delivering late-secondary and tertiary students the knowledge and skills involved with producing Merino wool.
"While AWI has developed valuable educational resources and projects for primary and secondary students, transferring best practice breeding skills and knowledge to future Merino industry participants is an important part of the future of our industry".
The competition is run in two categories: Secondary - Year 11 and 12 students; and Tertiary - University, TAFE (or other RTO) and college students.
Any institution is eligible to enter the competition however, to gain the most from the program, participants require a solid understanding of Merino wool and basic sheep handling in order to carry out activities and visual assessment of animals.
Institutions can bring as many students as they wish, but only the top four scores from a team will be aggregated to create the team score. If a school does not have enough students for a team, individuals may still compete, but will only be eligible for individual placement.
The 2019 NMC will be held at Sydney Showgrounds on Saturday, 25 and Sunday, 26 May 2019.