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Young Farmers put their best foot forward

Contestants in the 2011Young Farmer Contest Grand Final were tested on their stock handling and hoofcare abilities during the AgriSkills round of the competition in Masterton earlier this month.

The seven finalists were scored on their ability to correctly load and secure a cow into a Wrangler and then check the condition of her hoof. This is a vital job on dairy farms as cows walking to the shed each day are prone to getting lame. Lame

cows then costs the farm in lost production, treatment expenses, and associated costs like reduced cow fertility.

NZ designed and manufactured, the Wrangler crush enables cows to be held safely so the farmer can work on the hoof without fear of being kicked. Judges were watching carefully to ensure contestants loading the cow used the girths under the cow to prevent her falling and breaking a hip while the hoof was raised. They then needed to winch the backleg onto the supporting bar and the front hoof onto a supporting block and check the condition of

the hoof.

Other tasks the finalists had to complete included measuring the eye muscle mass of 10 stud rams, manufacturing a steel gate, identifying meat cuts, calibrating a seed drill, and constructing a Taranaki gate. The Wrangler had been used previously in Young Farmer district finals but never before at the Grand Final.

The AgriSkills winner, Mike Croad representing East Coast, took away $14,000 worth of Ravensdown products with Will Grayling taking out the top prize of National Bank Young Farmer Contest Champion for 2011.

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