And the last thing you'll see is a tractor! Oh and an electrifying story too.

I made a video. Yes I did make one. Indeed I made one. It's a little story I put together about the history of our region before the land was turned into dairy, beef and sheep farms, with a few cropping areas dotted in between. If you have about 6 minutes to spare and can stand watching my amateur attempts at trying to make something look cool then go for it. And the last thing you'll see is a tractor! Mark my words on that. Every good vid about a rural area just has to have a tractor in there somewhere.

And on a funnier note. We have seven turkeys roaming around the farm at the moment.  Of course, around here, only one name comes to mind for such feathered brainless minions of their ilk. Christmas Dinners! Today, the seven christmas dinners decided to hang around the house. On past the door they strutted, gobbling, and doing whatever walking christmas dinners tend to do on a slightly damp day. I wish just a few mere seconds later I had a video camera. One of the christmas dinners, decided it would try perching its bulk on the electric fence! I've never seen a christmas dinner have such an electrifying moment of realisation before. A rather shocking realisation I suppose for that tiny little bird brain to consider. 3000 volts of current and a turkey make for one heck of a launch. Shame it wasn't in the space programme. It might have made a record - for a turkey at least that is. The thing shot straight up in the air gobbling in pain, only to promptly hit the cabbage tree in midflight. It knocked itself out. Wrong month to nab for turning into a frozen christmas dinner. So I left it there for a while. There it lay,  watched over by six other unblinking dumb-as future festivity delights (evil grin). After a few minutes it finally recovered, staggered up and went off with its pals. Not long now until that month without an 'r' in it happens along. All I need now is to find some cranberry sauce.....


Defending champion returns

Defending Tasman champion, Reuben Carter, is the first Grand Finalist to be named for the 2014 ANZ Young Farmer Contest.

The thirty year old agronomist took first place at the Tasman Regional Final in Murchison at the A&P Show over the weekend, Saturday 15 February.

Mr Carter had a dominant performance leading for most of the day and took out both the Silver Fern Farms Agri-Sports and Ravensdown Agri-Skills Challenges giving him solid platform going into the evening show.

The Christchurch City Club member went home with a prize pack worth over $10,000 including cash, scholarships and products and services from ANZ, Lincoln University, Ravensdown, AGMARDT, Silver Fern Farms, Honda, Husqvarna and Vodafone.

Second place went to Andrew Wiffen, 26, of the Renwick Club. Mr Wiffen took home $2,900 worth of prizes and also won the Lincoln University Agri-Growth Challenge.

Sarah O’Connell, 29, of the Dunsandel Club, placed third and was also the top scorer in the AGMARDT Agri-Business Challenge.

And, in a close fourth, was James Hoban, of the Hurunui Club.

It was a strong group of competitors with plenty of knowledge and talent on display. The eight contestants were put through their paces in a variety of challenging modules touching on all aspects of farming from practical hands on tasks to theory and business components.

Mr Carter is off to the Grand Final in Christchurch, 3-5 July where he will battle it out for the Champion’s title and over $300,000 in prizes.

He now has eight Regional Finals under his belt and placed fourth overall in the 2013 Grand Final. Contest rules dictate that competitors can only participate twice at the Grand Final level, so this will be his last chance to be the ANZ Young Farmer Contest Champion.

“I have a lot of passion and drive for the agricultural sector and this is what drives me in the contest,” he said. Mr Carter does admit to having quite the competitive streak. “I have always been competitive and enjoy the challenge,” he said.
Mr Carter grew up on a sheep and beef farm at Opononi in Northland and later moved to Canterbury for study and earned his Bachelor of Agriculture from Lincoln University.

Outside of work he enjoys hunting, wood chopping, 4-wheel driving and is very active in stock judging. He was the 2012 winner for the NZ & Australasian Junior Meat and Wool Breeds Sheep Judging Championship.

Mr Carter is also working on raising his sheep stud, “Hurricane Romney,” and building up his equity for the ultimate goal of buying a drystock and cropping farm.

Be sure to tune in to ‘Road To The Young Farmer Final’. The series covers each of the seven Regional Finals and follows the seven top achievers who make it through to the Grand Final. Catch all the action starting Sunday 18th May, 8.30pm exclusively on TVNZ Heartland.

For more information visit www.youngfarmers.co.nz

Future Young Farmers battle it out in Murchison

The AgriKidsNZ and TeenAg competition season is underway for 2014 with Regional Finals taking place throughout the country over the next three months.
The competitions test skills, strength and stamina while introducing youth to the fun side of agriculture. Primary and high school students from all walks of life are welcome to join in.
Tasman held its Regional Final in Murchison at the A&P Show with Karetu Kids, Hamish Mackintosh, Ginny Smith & Maddie Hassall from North Loburn School taking home the top honour in the AgriKidsNZ competition and Jack & Ben, Jack Anderson & Ben Early from St Andrews College were the top team in the TeenAg event. 
Rounding out the top three for AgriKidsNZ was the Gumboot Gang, Bella Caughley, Stuart van Heerden & Sophie Stephens in second place from North Loburn School and third place went to Grass Guru’s, Taine Kinzett, George Kitney & Ben Allan from Murchison Area School. 
AgriKidsNZ is open to children 8-13 years of age and they compete in teams of three while the TeenAg competition calls for high school students 13-18 years old, competing in pairs.
“It was a great start to the 2014 competition series,” commented Josie Hampton, AgriKidsNZ & TeenAg Project Leader. “There was a great level of competition in both events which was exciting to see for the first Regional Final and everyone really enjoyed their day,” said Miss Hampton.
There was some fierce competition amongst the TeenAg competitors. George & Hamish, George Fraser & Hamish Gardner from St Andrews College took home second place and in third place was Team Wire, Scott Higgins & Brent Dalley from Nelson College.
The competitions are structured into seven modules which can test anything and everything farm related. The top scoring seven teams continue through to the Race-Off challenge where contestants must work as a team and complete a series of tasks as fast as possible.

Top three teams from each Regional Final are invited to attend the 2014 Grand Final held in Christchurch, 3-5 July where they will battle it out for the national champion’s title alongside the ANZ Young Farmer Contest Grand Final.

Several Regional Final events around the country are nearing capacity which presents an exciting challenge for event organisers.
“The skill level of the competitors continues to impress us year after year and we are thrilled with the uptake from youth around the country,” said Miss Hampton.
For more information head to www.youngfarmers.co.nz

Life Snapshots Part 1 (video) #farmvoices #agchatnz

Over the last six or so years, I've ended up with a huge archive of digital images taken over the years. I'm amazed at how many places, people and animals I've photographed. Some in this video are taken at the farm, and others around the Kaipara, Hokianga and Auckland districts. It's mainly snapshots of rural life and the region I live in. My kids have grown up living a very different to the life they would have had if I hadn't made the decision to start again else where. So why not share the years now in video. It's a half bad first effort. I used Windows Live Movie Maker for this video. The music is composed and performed by Jahzarr. Track is Titled "Roads that burned our boot" Track 2: "The Last ones" these are released by the composer under a Creative Commons attribution license for non-commercial use.


Yep the kid wants to be a farmer #agchatnz #farmvoices

Just on ten years ago I moved here to the farm. It didn't have the name it has now. Just an empty bareblock with grass taller than my head, and the promise of a new beginning. Ten years on, Michelle my youngest daughter is now 15 years old. All season she's been showing beef cattle for a friend and learning all about how cattle go together.

Her dad took her out a few weeks ago, and gave her some spending money. You would think Michelle would have gone and bought a CD with her favourite music on it. Instead she came home with a book about cattle breeds, which she carries around with her. After the last show she went too, home Michelle came with a big insight into the conformation of Jersey dairy cows and how they should go together.

My two jersey cows have been scrutinised by said daughter and every conformation fault picked out in the process. Well considering one was out of a first year heifer, and not considered economic to keep as a replacement? She wouldn't be perfect, but what a great mother she turned out to be for her first calf. The other aka The Terrorist was a twin, so not much good for anything to do with a dairying operation. However she certainly has given us all a lot of laughs over the last almost 6 years since she came to live with us. The blog got started because of the tiny jersey calf Gillian dropped off one morning.

I've watched my daughter grow, and overcome significant diabilities and challenges during her life. Michelle is growing up. She can go into a dairy shed and put the cups on the cows, handle calves and give mum lectures on what a good cow on a dairy farm should look like. She's told me in the last few weeks, that she has decided that she is going to go farming. She wants to farm beef she's told me. I suggested she starts on a dairying operation first, get her AgQuals on farm while learning on the job, then make some choices from there. Michelle has autism, but it hasn't stopped her from learning new things and developing into a bright intelligent upcoming young woman with a positive and clear goal to reach for. I am so proud of her!

 For anyone reading this post in New Zealand there are a number of Farm Experience days coming up for teenagers considering farming as a career. The Primary Sector are finding there are less young people choosing farming as a career option. Check out the Get Ahead website for details on the Get Ahead Experience Days being held at various locations around New Zealand.