19 July 2002

THEYRE OFF TO THE YOUNG SHEPHERDS PENTATHLON

WITH fewer young people training in agriculture and pursuing careers in sheep production, the young shepherds pentathlon provides a showcase of young talent which should be nurtured to guarantee the future success of Britains sheep industry.

In the competition, held at Sheep 2002, entrants are required to complete a 10-minute questionnaire, drive an ATV bike, erect electrified sheep fencing and select finished lambs or ewe lambs/ shearlings for breeding. They must also demonstrate foot trimming, use a multi-dose worming gun and multi-injection equipment.

One hopeful, entering the competition for the second time, is 19-year-old Matthew Haydon, a student at Warwickshire College. He is in the third year of a day-release National Certificate in Agriculture course.

"I work on a sheep and arable unit in Warwickshire and hope to eventually become a full-time shepherd or sheep contractor. Fewer people are interested in sheep work, so there will be increasing demand for these skills. I hope to stay in the industry and believe it will improve."

Also entering the competition from Warwickshire College is 17-year-old Pete Middleton, in his first year of a National Diploma in Agriculture course. "Sheep are my main interest and I have a small flock of my own. I may travel to New Zealand to try farming on a larger scale, but hope my future will be in sheep production in the UK." &#42

The best of the countrys young shepherds will battle it out in the young shepherds pentathlon