MORE than 50 students from five schools fought it out in this year's Harvey Beef Gate 2 Plate Schools Challenge last week at the Willyung Farms' Feedlot at Albany and at the end of the day it was the WA College of Agriculture (WACOA), Denmark, that went home with the winners trophy.
After being cancelled last year at the last minute due to COVID-19 restrictions, the students were back with plenty of enthusiasm this year.
All up seven teams, two from the WACOA Denmark and two from WACOA Narrogin, alongside one each from WACOA Harvey, WACOA Cunderdin and the Mount Barker Community College competed for the honour of being the top school.
The School's Challenge, which was this year supported by Harvest Road/Harvey Beef, the Coles Group and Bendigo Bank, aims to help students develop their beef industry knowledge and skills.
Throughout the day the students heard from various speakers who covered topics relating to the beef industry.
Zoetis representative Ben Fletcher spoke about the importance of vaccines and animal health; Harvest Road animal welfare program manager Taya Clarke discussed the role of animal welfare in the sustainability of the beef industry; Steve Moir looked at stock handling and Willyung Farms' Sandy Lyon, covered feeding and nutrition in the feedlot.
After hearing from the speakers the teams were broken up into groups and the students undertook a series of different quizzes to come up with the winners on the day.
When the quizzes were marked and the points tallied, it was a team of year 12 students from WACOA Denmark that had accumulated the most points across the five different quizzes and the practical stock handling test and announced the winner.
The team of Chanel Lowe, Anna Rowe, Lara Burrow, Dixie Wyatt, Yasmine Pages, Ella Smith, Travis Freegard and Jackson Conti, finished on 33 points to be one point ahead of the second placed team that accumulated 32 points.
Placing second was another team from the WACOA Denmark of Bree Skinner, Indianna Wilkinson, Aiden Goodall, Samantha Wimpering, Jade Erasmus, Ayla McMaster, Williams Reid and Jesse Oldfield.
Third place went to a team from the WACOA Harvey of Dylan Emmott, Amelia Ietto, Chayce Whitton, Tyson Wallinger, Tessa Clifton, Angeline Alley, Georgia Buchanan, Koltyn Te Haara and Maddison Stuchbury, that finished on 28 points.
Along with the overall awards, the top three students in the five different quizzes and the practical stock handling test were also recognised.
Also during the day the students were able to view the cattle in the feedlot that had been entered into the challenge.
They also heard from The Regional Men's Health Initiative community educator Tom Hayes, who spoke during the day about the importance of looking after your physical, mental and social wellbeing and witnessed a working dog demonstration from South Australian dog trainer and livestock educator Neil McDonald, who featured on last year's ABC series Muster Dogs.
Harvey Beef Gate 2 Plate co-ordinator Narelle Lyon said the entire committee was pleased with the level of participation shown by all the students throughout the day.
"We are very lucky as an industry to have the Agricultural Colleges producing the level of students that they are, who are going to enter into this industry," Ms Lyon said.
"The interaction from all the young men and women with the speakers and industry figures on the day was outstanding.
"Their eagerness to learn was fantastic and we would like to congratulate all of the schools on their efforts."
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