Sunday, June 3, 2012

Grand Final modules

The most important volunteer on Practical Day
of the
National Bank Young Farmer Contest
is the time keeper.
This year it was Lucie.

Practical Day starts off with a series of modules.
The modules are based on farming tasks
that may or may not be common.

Brad Lewis (Tara/Man) is grading fleeces here.
This would be pretty hard for him cause he is a dairy farmer.
The Contestants, of which there are seven,
one each from each of the seven Young Farmer Rgions,
come from any and all sectors of the agricutlure industry
including off farm Young Farmers like
Micheal Lilley (Tasman) and Tony Dowman (East Coast)

This is Micheal getting a seeder ready to....
you guessed it seed a paddock.
The Contestants have to so all the modules to the best of their ability
in limited time.
In this module they would have had to figure out how much seed
to load the seeder up with and that involves quite a bit of maths.
Micheal is a vet so this is a liddddlle bit outside of his experience.

Then we have Rural Polytechnic Business Manager putting together
a milking plant.
Tony Dowman (East Coast) has managed a dairy farm before injuryinghis back
and starting work at Taratahi.
This module should be pretty straight forwad for him,
but some times the thing you think you know the best and
haven't bothered to study cause you know it so well
will be the module that will trip you up.
Not that Tony did badly on this module.

Because you have these guys following you around
and they want interviews all the way.
And there's photographers and your every move is documented.
Katherine Tucker was the only female,
in fact she is the third female to get to Grand Final in 44 years.

The point of this Contest is to find the best Young Farmer.
Not the best girl farmer or boy farmer,
just the best farmer.
On farm cuts you no slack if you are a chick,
neither does this Contest.
Either you can do it or you can't.
Katherine can do it
and she can do it better than the seven guys
she beat in her Northern Regional Final.

Sam Williams (Wai/BoP) is getting up close with fecal samples.
Nice work if you can get it.
This is Sam's second Grand Final.
In his last one in Gore two years ago he cut his hand.
A big slash across his palm.
He should have gone to hospital but
he may only had that one chance to win Grand Final
so he stayed and didn't win, but he could have.

Micheal's giving welding a go.
I totally can't remember what they had to do.

Farmer's in NZ seldom scan their own ewes
(It's like an ultrasound but the ewes don't worry about having a full bladder
or have cold gel on their belly.)
but this makes a great left field module for Tony Dowman.

The one module you can count on is the First Aid module.
All farmers need to know First Aid cause help is never near by.
If you are lucky enough to have cell phone coverage you can call for help
but you can't count on that,
nor can you count on the first responders to be able to find you.
Pete Gardyne (Otago/Southland) encounters a pretty realistic car accident.

So in this module the judge watches and listens very closely
to exactly what you say and do.
The trick to this module is slow and steady
rather than panic and fail.

Hoof health is always important for cows.
Yes that's a real hoof but it's not attached to a cow.
If you talk to your local vets early enough,
 they'll collect up things like hooves and dead calf fetuses
and store them up in the freezer
so you can test/teach farmers in how to deal with
what ever animal health issue faces them.
Michael may have an unfair advantage here.
being a dairy vet and all.

It's a long grueling day.
Preceded by a full day of mental challenges,
as if farm problem solving isn't hard enough.
Pete is a great sheep and mixed cropping farmer
who stood up to all the challenging modules,
animal health/science.
And then once you have done those,
there's two head to head race offs
and the AgriSports Final.

And that's not the end of it.

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