THE participants that were willing to get hands-on in the SAMM junior judges competition were generally the ones that made it to the final oral presentation round, according to overjudge Geoff Thomas, Wonnarra, Hallett.
"As Prime SAMMs are a 60 per cent meat, 40pc wool breed, it's important when assessing sheep like this that you really look at the sheep's carcase first and foremost," he said.
"And the only way you find out about that is to really put your hands on the sheep and have a feel.
"And if you're not confident about what you're putting your hands on, there is also muscle scan cards for extra information."
Mr Thomas also advised to have an assessment strategy going into judging to ensure a consistent appraisal of sheep.
There was 34 competitors in the junior judging, and up to five schools participating for the top broad ribbon.
Points were scored on handling, placings after assessment and a two-minute oral presentation.
Shannon Donoghue, 24, Naracoorte, went on to take out the competition on 132 points, only just ahead of Lachlan Grossman, 20, Angaston, on 130, while Naracoorte High School student Ben Frick, 15, Padthaway, came in third on 124.
Mr Frick won the competition last year and won the state meat sheep young judges final at the weekend, while Ms Donoghue previously won the SAMMs junior judging title in 2016.
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Ms Donoghue said she has been participating in junior judging competitions at shows for the past 10 years.
"I love all types of competitions," she said.
"I like that you get to have your say about what you think.
"I have done other judging, but my preference is wool judging."
Ms Donoghue said she drew on her knowledge as a contract wool classer for Heinrich Shearing, Kingston SE.
"It has been a great opportunity to be part of the agricultural industry," she said.
"I was once involved in the beef industry, but sheep and wool have become my passion.
"I do love the sheep industry."
Ms Donoghue also likes the competitions as it helped increase student exposure to the agricultural industry.
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