Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | July 9, 2010

Day two – Young Farmer Contest

Well it has been a very long day. Up at 6 and away with the contestants for the first frosty-breathed (well, no frost, slight drizzle, but it was still cold – for a North Islander lol) start to the Practical Day.

Thank you Jamie Mackay for the interview at lunchtime – I have already noticed a spike in visitors today! And thanks for drawing attention to my mud-soaked legs. I have a broken bone in my ankle and the brace I have from the physio (found too late for a cast – and I would have refused one for this week anyway!) would not fit in my boots or Mum’s borrowed gumboots. Bugger!

Here’s the press release from today. I still think Chris and Grant are the forerunners, with James Donaldson up there too (it would be lovely for Northern to have their first winner or their second top-three), but I think Andrew Scott has been strong too.

And wow! I sat next to Pete Gardyne’s dad last night at the speeches dinner – what a nice man. I had actually told him earlier in the day that he should be very proud of his son and the way he was handling himself (as if he wasn’t already). After today’s effort, Pete has certainly not disappointed the local crowd. Despite being the youngest and the least experienced in the Contest, he is certainly holding his own! I hope he does well tomorrow night, has a couple of years off to run a few Contests and then blows them away next time! (you only get two goes).

This time, here’s the release…

There were seven exhausted young farmers after day two of the 2010 Grand Final of The National Bank Young Farmer Contest – the Practical Day at the Gore A&P Showgrounds.

The seven Grand Finalists have each won their respective Regional Finals – Whangarei beef farmer James Donaldson (Northern), Otorohanga farm consultant and mixed farmer Sam Williams (Waikato/Bay of Plenty), Woodville sheep and beef farmer Angus Brown (East Coast), Rongotea sharemilker Chris Will (Taranaki/Manawatu), farm consultant Grant McNaughton (Tasman), South Canterbury sheep and beef farmer Andrew Scott (Aorangi) and hometown favourite, Gore sheep, beef and arable farmer Pete Gardyne (Otago/Southland).

Thursday was Technical Day and tomorrow will be the televised Evening Session at the Gore Multisports Complex. There will be 1300 people there to watch the show, including several hundred participants and spectators from AgriKids.

The Practical Day has two main aspects for the contestants – the Ravensdown Agri-skills Challenge and the Hyundai Agri-sports Challenge.

In their own farmlets, the contestants had to manage their time effectively in order to complete a huge list of tasks including build a mailbox, build a boundary fence, plant some trees, connect a water trough, install a wind vane, construct Prattley yards and tup crutch ewes, assemble a beehive, and give the property some drainage. They also had a visit from their National Bank manager, who then collapsed on their farmlet in a first aid twist.

Four half-hour challenges consisting of sheep (draft, do a faecal egg count, drench and complete a winter feed budget), dairy (cow selection and artificial insemination), deer (velvet grading, cut and cook venison and score a trophy head) and arable (identify grains, calibrate drill and drill a cereal crop and prepare and spray a crop).

“This required each contestant to move from their farmlet to that challenge at the correct time – time management was essential. During the morning the contestants also came together for two Head to Head challenges – one of them a gruelling fencing one – allowing the crowd to see all the contestants in action together,” said one of the practical convenors, Willy Buchanan. He shared the job with former Grand Finalist Paul Turner (2006).

The feature event of the day was undoubtedly the fast-paced Hyundai AgriSport with hometown favourite Pete Gardyne crossing the line first, much to the delight of the huge crowd, which filled the Showgrounds grandstand and surrounded the course.

“But speed isn’t everything and quality of work will count alongside time when the points are added up and released as part of the television show,” said AgriSport convenor Simon Hopcroft.

In the space of just 45 minutes, they had to attach Mg Spreader to bike go through obstacle course and back underneath Ravensdown silo, put one bucket full of urea from correct bag in spreader and apply on way back, put bale forks on loader shift bale of straw to side, cut pine log into six even rings and stack, shear a sheep, load three bales of wool onto a trailer and tie down, prune a tree, place wine on the correct grape varieties, cut a guitar out of iron, fit and prime a pump and roll up a coil of drainaway.

The winner of the Ravensdown Agri-skills Challenge wins $14,000 worth of product from Ravensdown Fertiliser and the winner of the Hyundai Agri-sports Challenge wins the complimentary use of a Hyundai vehicle for one year, valued at $8000.

The Contest’s $102,000 first prize package, given to the lucky winner on Saturday night, includes a new Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi A5 seven-seater valued at $ 55,990, a Honda TRX420FPM power steer four-wheel drive manual ATV valued at $ 14,600 and $10,000 cash from The National Bank.

All contestants receive $4380 worth of benefits including Echo outdoor power equipment, Swanndri clothing, a Honda water pump and $500 cash from The National Bank.

Other events held as part of the Practical Day were the AGMARDT Agribusiness Breakfast and the ever-growing AgriKids and TeenAg competitions.

At Thursday’s Technical Day at The Moth and the Croyden Heritage Aircraft Company at Mandeville, the contestants had to do a strategic business plan for a local farm, face a panel of judges for a 45-minute personal interview and resolve a conflict being acted out by an employer and a dismissed employee in a human resources challenge, as well as complete the Market Innovation Challenge – a presentation of a more detailed research project already completed by the contestants. The contestants then had to present a three-minute speech at an Awards Dinner at the Heartland Hotel Croydon.

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