Farmer finalist adjusts game plan

RACHAEL KELLY
Last updated 05:00 02/07/2014
dean rabbidge
RACHAEL KELLY/ Fairfax NZ
CRAMMING: Wyndham farmer Dean Rabbidge catches up on some last-minute study before leaving for the ANZ Young Farmer national final at Lincoln.

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Wyndham farmer Dean Rabbidge had some extra pressure during his lead-up to the ANZ Young Farmer national final at Lincoln this week.

He became a dad to his first child, son Ted, two weeks ago.

"Its been a bit of a distraction but it's been a good one," he said.

"I knew he was coming, obviously, so I gave the study a real push before he arrived and then studied when he slept, which hasn't been that often."

The 29-year-old sheep and dairy farmer won the Otago Southland final in February and has been hitting the books since January in preparation for the three-day national final.

"It's been a long haul. In the last couple of months I've been doing three or four hours a day."

"If I knew what to expect it would be easier. There's so much to cover. A lot of it you just learn on the farm without having to think about it; it's more the technical things like botanical names and identifying diseases."

The competition would start with a technical day tomorrow but he thought the practical day on Friday could be his undoing.

"Working with machinery - that's what I pay contractors for."

He was expecting some nerves in the lead-up to the televised final on Saturday night.

"There'd be something wrong with you if you weren't nervous."

Rabbidge and the other six finalists are not told what the practical challenges are until the day of the competition.

"We've had TV cameras with us right the way through. Someone said it was a bit like being an All Black, the All Blacks of farming."

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