Cunderdin’s Merino prep win surprise after loss

Zach RelphCountryman
Winners Jacob Emin, Bonnie Telfer, Jake Garlick and Ashton Hagboom.
Camera IconWinners Jacob Emin, Bonnie Telfer, Jake Garlick and Ashton Hagboom. Credit: Zach Relph

WA College of Agriculture — Cunderdin has snared the fifth Australian Wool Innovation Future Breeders Challenge in a bold display to snatch the gong from reigning champions Harvey.

At the Perth Royal Show on Monday, Cunderdin was declared winner over its Harvey-based counterpart, while WA College of Agriculture Denmark rounded out the top-three in the heralded Merino preparation competition.

The challenge required teams of students from each college to care for six Merino wethers at their campus farms for about six months, before being brought to the Claremont Showgrounds for judging on the third day of the Show.

Students’ were assessed according to wool and meat yield, commercial value, presentation and handling.

Cunderdin, which won the inaugural competition in 2014, emerged victorious in this year’s event even though two Merinos died during the preparation phase.

WA College of Agriculture — Cunderdin Year 12 student Bonnie Telfer said the win came as a surprise, while praising the school’s efforts prior to presenting the Merinos.

“It was a harsh season and our six sheep became four,” she said.

“The wool cut put us up there (and) having heavy weighing sheep.”

Jacob Emin, Year 11, Jake Garlick and Ashton Hagboom, both Year 12, were also a part of the winning Cunderdin team alongside Miss Telfer.

Stud Merino Breeders’ Association of WA president Wayne Button, who was one of the competition’s officials, said the competition offered a sense of excitement for WA’s sheep sector.

Mr Button said it demonstrated students’ willingness to join the sector, which would have an array of jobs on offer once they graduated.

“It is great for the future of our industry, which is ageing, to see so many keen and enthusiastic young men and women,” he said.

“This helps broaden their horizons ... it is exciting and great to see younger people take a genuine interest.

“A lot of these kids don’t come from a farming background, but they’re keen to be involved, which is fantastic.”

Last week, Mr Garlick was unveiled as one of five winners in the Perth Royal Show’s farm skills challenge with Cunderdin classmates Mitchell Applegate, James Thomas, Alex Linto and Riley Hill.

Royal Agricultural Society of WA president Paul Carter presented the five students with the award.

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