Preparation pays off for winner

23:30, Nov 26 2012

Andrew Wiffen used his competition experience to win the Nelson-Marlborough district final of the Young Farmer of Year at the show.

It was the fourth district event the Kekerengu farmer had entered, and his experience served him well as he won comfortably from Marcel Van Reenen of Moutere and Brendan Stafford of Motueka.

Both he and Mr Van Reenen go on to the Tasman regional final at Oxford in March.

It was the first time for some years that the district final had been held during the show, and some of the challenges, such as fencing, attracted good interest from spectators.

Mr Wiffen produced a solid allround performance, winning four of the nine challenges - plant identification, fertiliser use, general knowledge and a quiz - and placing second and third in most of the others.

"It was a good day out and I'm happy with the result."

The 25-year-old, who works on the family farm, which runs 1900 ewes and 50 cattle, had hoped to get through to the regional final, but said he had a lot of preparation to do to beat his previous effort of fifth. "You have got to put a lot of extra in from now on if you want to have a decent crack at it."

Contest organiser and Murchison veterinarian Michael Lilley said he was happy with the standard of competition among the eight contestants, who faced some testing tasks.

Mr Lilley, who won this year's national final, said the contest was held during the show in an effort to boost the event's profile.