Penrith Show: Schools Agricultural Competition

Glossy steers, manicured sheep and crowing roosters form the backdrop for the 19th year of the Cumberland Plains, Agricultural Schools Competition at the Penrith Show. Students from fifteen schools pit their skills against each other in activities encompassing Educational displays, livestock parading and the Rural Olympics.
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This successful completion is made possible through the sponsorship of the Penrith District A.H & I Society, Castlereagh Feeds and Emu Plains Correctional Services.

The competition starts in March with the Emu Plains Correctional Services Dairy providing each school with an unweaned bull calf or a heifer. Through regular hand feeding, students develop a strong rapport as they gentle and train the calf to lead. The transition to solid feed is facilitated by the generous donation of calf pellets from Castlereagh Feeds. The culmination commences at day break on Saturday at the wash bay, with the final primping and polishing before sauntering around under the watchful gaze of the Judge.

Educational Displays are another significant element of the Show experience. This year, the Corrective Services Industry provided a large banner to each school to make it easier for the visitors to identify their local school. Each school must showcase their design skills and knowledge of issues for a chosen agricultural enterprise like the banana or sheep industry, with spokes people to answer the probing questions from the four judges.

Vegetables, poultry, sheep, alpacas, jams and bees form part of the tapestry of the experiences of this section with schools vying for points to claim the trophies and ribbons provided by the Penrith District Show Society.

On Sunday, the Cattle Pavilion becomes a hive of activity where teams of four students compete in the Rural Olympics. The students are judged on their skills in stacking and securing a load of hay, building a wire fence, constructing an electric fence, drenching and handling sheep in a yard and calculating and applying chemicals safely. Concurrently, individuals compete in the poultry judging competition with the aim of qualifying for judging at the Royal Easter Show.

As the weekend draws to a close, new friendships have been forged, ribbons and trophies have been proudly displayed in recognition of outstanding achievements and plans for next year are underway. This unique learning experience is only possible through the generous support of the judges who volunteer their time and the faithful sponsors, school communities and the Penrith A.H & I Society who provide logistical and financial support.

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