The first 3 days of the course are really spent in the sheep yards 8am to 5pm learning about what makes an outstanding meat sheep. As you can see from the picture below we did lots of study.
On the fourth day it is the Senior Dorper Course exam. There are four elements to complete and you must achieve at least 50% in each element with an overall average of 60% to pass. Very daunting to say the least, there is so much to learn and remember. First up is the written test which comprises of 50 multiple choice questions, which we all passed. I acheived 84%, Jessica 86%, Eileen 88% and Sarah 92%. Thank goodness we passed that part because if you don't you are removed from the remaining elements.
Then the pointing of 10 rams and 10 ewes. This is when you award points for Confirmation, Growth, Size, Colour pattern, Hair covering, Type ( stud T1 or T2, Commercial T3 or T2, cull T1. There are 9 elements that need to be scored and points are deducted for each incorrect score.
This was followed by the 3rd element of the exam. The placing of 2 groups of sheep, 5 rams and 5 ewes in order of their quality. You are awarded points for correct placements. Misplace one or two sheep and you will fail the element.
Then the final and most daunting part of the test. Place a class of 5 rams and a class of 5 ewes in order first to last and explain in detail to the teacher your justification for the places. All of us passed this element as well
Hopefully we will find out about the remaining 2 elements soon.
The course is so worthwhile for the sheep farmer (regardless of breed), we learnt so much that can be applied at home, both from Wicus Cronje the teacher, and from the other participants. Although the course is stressful and lots of work the outstanding accommodation provided at Burrawang West Station helped to make an most enjoyable week.
The opportunity to have a drink together and to sit down to a meal together, adds much to the fun and learning experience at Burrawang. Highly recommended.
Waiting to shine.
Back in the beautiful room after a freezing day in the yards