A Red Meat Profit Partnership initiative is giving school pupils a chance to experience life on a farm.

With the aim of showing how farms operate and sparking interest in future career paths, national 2012 Ballance Farm Environment Awards supreme winners Jane and Blair Smith hosted a class from North Otago's Papakaio School.

The year 7 and 8 pupils went with teacher Damian Brown to Newhaven Farms, the Smiths' sheep and beef property northwest of Oamaru.

The school pupils get a chance to touch growing wool as Newhaven Farms sheep are run up the race.
The school pupils get a chance to touch growing wool as Newhaven Farms sheep are run up the race.

''One of the most interesting things was when we gave a demo on how superior wool is to synthetic products,'' Mrs Smith said.

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''We used a blowtorch on a square of wool carpet and it didn't burn or smoke, just lightly smouldered, and then did the same thing to synthetic material and it melted and smelt terrible.

''We also talked about the fact that wool is biodegradable whilst synthetics pollute wherever they end up, forever,'' she said.

Blair Smith shears a sheep in front of fascinated Papakaio School onlookers. Photos: Supplied
Blair Smith shears a sheep in front of fascinated Papakaio School onlookers. Photos: Supplied

Technology applied to farming, such as electronic ear tags, weighing equipment, and DNA testing, was another topic of discussion.

Mrs Smith described the visit as ''great fun''.

The pupils shared that impression in their subsequent blog, headed ''EWE wouldn't believe how much fun!''.

''We have just got back from our trip to Newhaven farm as part of our genetics and farming science unit,'' they wrote.

''We learnt so much about how the sheep are cared for, we met Pippy, the oldest living red deer in the world, and we even got given free pikelets!

''Such a great learning experience for us. Here are a million pictures that we are sure you wool love (you see what we did there?).''

Mrs Smith replied to the blog, saying the children had asked ''brilliant questions'' and were ''rather handy in the sheep yards chasing those wayward sheep''.