Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fleeces needed

Wool judging is an important aspect of youth livestock skillathons.  A skillathon is a competitive event in which youth are tested on various aspects of livestock production:  meat, wool. feed, forage, equipment, breeds, diseases, selection, etc.

The 4-H Maryland State Skillathon is held every March during the annual Maryland Cattlemen's Convention in Hagerstown.  This year's event will be held on Saturday, March 5.  The state skillathon includes wool judging.

Later in the year, skillathons specific to sheep and goats are held in Maryland.  These are junior competitions open to youth, ages 8 to 18, from any state or province.

The 2011 Junior Sheep & Wool Skillathon will be held Sunday, May 8th at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. The 2011 Junior Goat Skillathon will be held Saturday, September 24 at the Washington County Agricultural Center near Boonsboro, Maryland.

If you have "reasonably-clean" fleeces of any grade or breed (white only) that would be suitable for wool judging, please contact me (Susan) at or (301) 432-2767 x343. A wool judging class consists of four fleeces of the same type (grade) or breed.

A fleece class needs to be relatively easy to place, as youth have limited knowledge and experience with wool.  For example, a good class might have two pairs of fleeces, of significantly different quality or the class may break down into an easy top and bottom place fleece, with a close middle pair.

The skillathon program will accept donations of suitable fleeces, but is also willing to purchases fleeces, depending upon the price.

Skillathons have been a great tool to expose more youth to wool production.

Junior Sheep & Wool Skillathon
Junior Goat Skillathon

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