ADELAIDE’S school wether competition just keeps getting bigger and bigger, with another record number of entries this year.
And it was Keith Area School’s team that came out on top overall from the 54 teams exhibited by 33 schools.
Keith’s winning team of three had a combined value of $939.53, which included the highest meat value of the competition at $768.
It was made up of three wethers weighing 82 to 96kg, with eye muscle depths of 36 to 39.7mm and scanning 5.5 to 5.7mm of fat.
Their meat value varied from $244 to $266, while the fleeces ranged from $48 to $68.
Convenor Stephen Kellock said the winning team showed just how much difference exhibiting a team with lambs teeth can have on the overall result, as the Keith team did not place in the top eight of any other section.
“Because they are getting a meat value of $7.30 rather then a hogget price of $4.30, that is where the huge difference comes out, so the more lambs that come in here, they are starting to learn they will get higher up the tree and that’s what its all about,” he said.
The type of sheep being presented are also different to when the competition first began, Mr Kellock said.
“They are a lot plainer then when we first started, growth rates are a lot better in that sense, we are still cutting a lot of wool, but the skins are certainly a lot better and a lot different then when we first started,” he said.
When it comes to the popularity of the continually growing competition, Mr Kellock said it came down to the enthusiasm from kids, teachers and schools.
“They just want to be involved, they love the sheep industry, they love handling animals and it is a good opportunity for them to get out here and see a bit of this,” he said.
Related reading:Orroroo sheep breeding program highlighted
“And they get some commercial value out of what they are producing – a lot of them will take the information now when it comes up on the Merino SA website and get the detail of what they did and where they were placed, and get a lot of information from that.”
Clare High School was this year’s show team development winner, awarded to a school that had participated in all of the previous three years, and “demonstrated the strongest trend of improvement in the net value of both sheepmeat and fleece value combined”.
Clare High School’s team this year placed first in the highest weight gain by group category, as well as in the fleece value section, with a combined value of the three fleeces of $388.07.
Weighing from 52kg to 62kg at the March shearing of the wethers, Clare’s team weighed 100 to 115kg at judging, with fleeces of 18.9 to 23 micron valued at $113 to $139.
The wethers were prepared and presented by Clare’s year 12 agriculture class, and teacher Lesley Squires said it was the school’s most successful year yet in the competition results.
Karcultaby Area School won the most professional show team for the third year running, with Orroroo Area School in second, and Cleve Area School – Sims Farm in third.
Orroroo Area School won the best pen of three wethers, while Faith Luthern College had the three most valuable skins
The School Wethers Competition will be the feature event at Adelaide Show next year, and organisers are expecting it to be the biggest and best yet.