STATION hands of all ages will get to test their skills for a cash and prize pool valued at $2500 in the inaugural Monaro Stationhand Challenge at the Delegate show in March.
Organiser Robert Ingram said the event aimed to recognise and broaden the skills of the area’s top station hands, and lift the profile of the south-east New South Wales town, the Monaro district and its economy.
He is expecting contestants from throughout the state and possibly from Victoria in the unique event.
“But I will back the skills of the Monaro station hands against anyone else in the state.”
The Monaro district with the Southern Tablelands of NSW is the largest wool-growing area in NSW, he said.
“And we produce also some of the best yearling cattle in the country,” he said.
“Central to our farming operations are the capabilities of our station hands.”
“We want to demonstrate to station hands what the industry wants them to know; there is a need for traditional skills and a need for modern technological skills,” he said.
“Some parts of the challenge are going to be very difficult.
“The sections on sheep classing and assessment are at the top end of what is required.”
The winners of the challenges three age groups – junior station hands 16 years and under, jackaroos and jillaroos 17-25 years and senior station hands 26 years and older – will best demonstrate ability and confidence in skills such as information technology, work health and safety, and social license, wool, sheep and cattle assessment and selection.
Challenge contestants will have to assess Merino ewes and rams using visual and breeding values. They will judge cattle and select bulls using breeding values to meet a breeder’s objective. They will also class commercial fleeces, identify weeds, pests and feral animals, and assess grain samples.
“The multiple choice exam on the legal and work health and safety aspects of the agricultural industry is extremely difficult.
“But it is not about embarrassing people, it is about demonstrating what is required to meet the regulatory requirements of local and export markets and the skills needed to operate effectively in the industry,” Mr Ingram said.
Challenge contestants will need to understand objective fleece data, Chemcert certification, National Vendors Declarations and National Wool Declarations, he said.
Mr Ingram said many shows have been cancelled in south-east NSW but the Delegate Pastoral and Agricultural Society is working to ensure its annual show went ahead.
“We are doing everything possible to ensure the show goes on and is bigger and better than ever.”
He said good support for the challenge has come from Local Land Services, Australian Wool Innovation and Monaro sheep and cattle companies for the event on 7 March.
Mr Ingram said challenge contestants are required to register for the event to ensure they get sent necessary background information. Pre-registration can be done via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Ingram said accommodation is available at the local caravan park, the Delegate Hotel and there is plenty of room to camp by the Delegate River.
Click here for more information on the Monaro Stationhand Challenge.