Melbourne wins at National Merino Challenge

The University of Melbourne team has taken the top prize in the tertiary division in Australian Wool Innovation’s National Merino Challenge (NMC).

The event capped off weeks of intensive training at the Parkville and Dookie campuses.

Trainer Robyn Leishman, who is studying veterinary medicine at the University, said it was an excellent effort by the whole team.

“Everyone played their part to get us here,” she said.

“We faced strong competition from Victorian and interstate teams, and the result really shows the dedication of our students and their interest in engaging with the future of the wool industry.”

The NMC aims not only to introduce students to the career opportunities within the sheep and wool industries, but to offer basic skills surrounding sheep management and appraisal using both traditional and modern methods.

Melbourne student Wendy Parish received the Top Performer in Wool Section prize and third place overall.

Australian Wool Innovation manager of woolgrower extension and adoption Emily King said the NMC had grown rapidly since its inception because it met the demands of a new generation.

“There is a strong wave of young people coming through who are increasingly enthusiastic about the wool industry. These are the young minds that will take the industry forward with new ideas and new leadership. It’s exciting to see and great to be involved.”

Sponsorships from the University of Melbourne and wool buyer Techwool Trading allowed the team to pay for registration, vests, travel and training for all 16 members. Other sponsors include animal health company Zoetis and diversified agribusiness Rodwells.