Growing good brassica crops is an art. Plenty of moisture and sunshine, good soil conditions and just the right amount of fertiliser are needed to achieve high yields - things not going unnoticed by farmers in South Otago competing in the annual Clinton Lions Club brassica competition.
Convener Warren Erickson said 160 farmers had entered 240 swede, kale and fodder beet crops in this year's competition, with some farmers entering multiple crops.
"There's been a lot of interest," he said.
"Farmers have been getting quite competitive about growing the best crops."
Erickson said it had been an "exceptional" year for growing brassicas with the top swede and kale crops yielding about 20 tonnes a hectare and the top fodder beet crops yielding 30 tonnes a hectare.
The competition, now in its third year, was a major fundraiser for the Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter which was a vital service in the region.
"At least six farmers in the competition have used the rescue helicopter," Erickson said. "It flies over home at least once or twice a week."
Erickson said Clinton Lions Club members had been busy weighing crops over the past few weeks and the top six crops in each category were then judged by representatives from Advance Agriculture to decide the overall winners.
The club raised about $60,000 for the Trust in the first year and $74,000 was raised last year after an auction of donated goods and services.
"Farmers and businesses have been extremely generous with their donations," Erickson said. Proceeds would also go to St Johns in Gore and Balclutha this year.
All farmers who had entered the brassica competition, along with sponsors, were invited to attend the prize giving and auction at the Clinton Community Centre on July 4 starting at 7pm.
- The Southland Times