WINNER of the Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) WA State Ag School Merino Judging Challenge was WA College of Agriculture, Narrogin, achieving 258 points out of a possible 400 points at the WA Sheep Expo & Ram Sale at Katanning recently.
The students in the winning team included Lachlan Bradshaw, Leah Hardingham, Alika Gould and Tate Barrett.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Southern Merino Sheepbreeders' Association changed the format of this year's competition to comply with government restrictions.
This meant that this year's event was called the Merino Judging Challenge and Sheep Handling Experience.
Instead of the usual four categories of shearing, wool handling, prime lamb and Merino classing, the students had the opportunity to shadow some of the stud breeders to learn and gain some hands-on experience before judging a line-up of rams.
Later in the day, one team at a time from each school judged a line-up of four rams from various studs, which were labelled ABCD and the students had to assess them and put them in the correct order according to their ovrall quality.
Each student received a score out of 100 with their individual scores being added together for their overall score.
A total of four teams of four students from four schools entered the competition.
Following Narrogin Ag in second place with a score of 209 was Harvey, Denmark, placed third with 161 points and Cunderdin was in fourth place with 130 points.
Competition organiser and judge Kurt Wise said that the students put in a big effort and it was good to see them improve their skills.
"It's good that there are young people interested in sheep and willing to learn," Mr Wise said.
He also said that the new format worked well and it meant the students had more of an opportunity to learn.