Wagin Woolorama: Jesse Oldfield named best Young Judge and attributes ‘everything’ to his Pop and school

Headshot of Cally Dupe
Cally DupeCountryman
WA College of Agricuture - Denmark student Jesse Oldfield.
Camera IconWA College of Agricuture - Denmark student Jesse Oldfield. Credit: Cally Dupe/Countryman

Jesse Oldfield had the inspiration and smarts of his grandfather in mind when he was named the best novice Junior Judge at this year’s Wagin Woolorama after just 12 months of learning.

The Year 11 student said it was his grandfather’s love of livestock and animals that prompted him to pack up his life in Mundijong and head to WA College of Agriculture — Denmark one year ago.

His hard work paid off at this year’s Wagin Woolorama when he was named Champion Young Judge and the best of all of the 60-plus students.

Jesse took out the novice class for those aged 14-17 after securing top spot in the Merino and wool junior judging for his age category.

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Boilermaker apprentice Brendan Lamont, who grew up on a farm in Tambellup and now lives in Albany, won the open class for those aged 18-25.

Jesse said he was proud of the result but paid tribute to the college’s sheep technical officer Roger Schulz, who the youngster said “taught him everything” he knew about cattle and sheep.

“I didn’t know anything about how to judge before coming to the school,” Jesse said.

“It is his fault I love this so much; he taught me everything I know.”

As well as representing their school, students taking part in the competition were also judged individually for their ability to judge four sections including Merino, poll dorset, wool and beef cattle.

Jesse grew up in Mundijong across the road from his grandfather’s 380-acre farm.

Since he died, Jesse’s family has been running the property which includes about 60 Dorper breeding ewes and about 60 Angus steers.

After growing up surrounded by animals, Jesse said he was drawn to the WA College of Agriculture – Denmark, which is on a 560ha farm.

WA College of Agricuture - Denmark student Jesse Oldfield.
Camera IconWA College of Agricuture - Denmark student Jesse Oldfield. Credit: Cally Dupe/Countryman

“I wanted to go because my Pop had inspired me,” he said.

“He got me into agriculture … and Denmark really stood out to me.”

The ATAR student has set his sights on studying agribusiness or agronomy in Perth.

Jesse said he felt a little unsure of himself while judging the wool but he “really enjoyed” the Merino section.

“They were really lovely ewes and there was a lot to talk about … I really enjoyed the competition,” he said.

Young Judges steward David Lange congratulated all of the students on a “job well done” and said the judges had been impressed with their dress and presentation on the day.

WA College of Agriculture – Denmark farm manager Kevin Marshall said all of the students had spent six weeks learning how to prepare and handle the sheep and cattle ahead of Woolorama.

The school brought 11 Corriedales and 11 Simmental cattle to Woolorama.

It was a good showing for the school, which had six of its 20 students in the finals.

Mr Marshall said the school had a simple but strong focus on livestock, with a Corriedale stud called Inlet View.

Through the stud, the school breeds and sells Corriedale sheep privately. Separately, the school runs 300 Merinos for prime lamb.

“We buy in rams from Wattleden Merinos with the target of improving wool quality and along with the meat attributes and meat breeds,” Mr Marshall said.

“We also have a Simmental stud and we are also milking 100 dairy cows.”

The college runs an after-school sheep club and cattle club once per week, enabling students to practise their judging, wool handling and shearing.

“We are really proud of Jesse and all of the students’ efforts,” Mr Marshall said.

“We took 20 students between the sheep and the cattle and win or lose, we are always pleased for them to contribute and have a go … it is fantastic for their confidence.”

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