Merino Challenge to test TAFE Western students

TAFE Western will send a 16-strong contingent of talented young farming industry representatives to test their skills against some of the best in the business at the 2016 National Merino Challenge in Sydney this weekend (May 14-15).

Agriculture/Woolclassing Teacher Frank Roberts said the students would participate in seven ‘mini-challenges’ over two days, testing their knowledge of Merino fleece, production, breeding and selection.

TAFE Western’s representatives, made up of Certificate IV Woolclassing, Certificate IV Agriculture and Diploma of Agriculture students, will compete in the tertiary section against other TAFE, university and registered training organisation students.

“The National Merino Challenge is an Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) initiative and despite only running for four years is rapidly growing in popularity,” he said.

“It has grown from around 60 participants in 2013 to more than 130 this year. This includes some of the best young industry talent from right across the country and will provide our students with not only a great learning opportunity, but the chance to test their skills in a high-pressure environment.”

TAFE’s 16 representatives gathered in Dubbo last weekend for training. Mr Roberts said judging by their performances, he’s expecting them to equip themselves well at the challenge in Sydney.

“We have sent a team to the competition for two of the previous three years and this is by far our strongest representation,” he said.

“We’ve got some very talented students this year that we’re expecting will do very well.”

This year’s TAFE Western representatives include:

  • Nicole Fragar and Stephanie Fragar (Tottenham);
  • Kira Tyrelle (Collie);
  • Ross Barling (Narromine);
  • Audra Field (Mudgee);
  • Sarah Ranger (Bogangate);
  • Brent Chalker (Young);
  • Eliza Kelly (Trundle);
  • KD Lee (Wellington);
  • Nick Evans (Warren);
  • Nat Honeysett (Goolma);
  • Mel O’Brien (Dubbo);
  • Jessica Theobald (Rockley);
  • Tom Ditchfield (Coonamble);
  • Ewan Brown (Gunning);