Young Farmer finalist found

Dean Rabbidge assembles a handpiece during the head-to-head module.
Dean Rabbidge assembles a handpiece during the head-to-head module.

Wyndham farmer Dean Rabbidge will again represent the Otago-Southland region in the 2014 ANZ Young Farmer Contest.

It was his strong general knowledge during the final quickfire buzzer round that saw him win the regional competition in Alexandra on Saturday night.

However, the 28-year-old sheep, beef and dairy farmer, who won the agribusiness challenge, wasn't the firm favourite going in to the evening session.

First-time regional finalist Logan Wallace won both the agrisports and the practical challenges, which were held at Pioneer Park earlier in the day.

The practical challenges involved assembling a K-Line sprinkler, erecting a four-wire fence, carrying out firefighting steps to put out a fire, carrying out health and safety checks on a Honda four-wheel motorbike and grading velvet, among other farm-related activities.

Regional manager Luke McCraw said he was pleased with the wide range of practical challenges that were thrown at the contestants.

"I wouldn't say they were particularly difficult but there was a lot of different tasks.

"We had one involving a helicopter, which was outside the square," Mr McCraw said.

Halfway through the various modules, the contestants went head to head in a challenge that involved assembling a handpiece, catching a shorn lamb and "shearing" it with a raddle and then skirting a fleece.

It was hot and thirsty work for the contestants, with Alexandra turning on a hot day, and a large crowd turned out to watch the day's events unfold.

A last-minute rugby injury forced DairyNZ extension officer James Lawn out of the competition, but he still came along on crutches to support the other contestants and his replacement Lyndon Wallace.

Logan Wallace, 28, was second in the competition, while contract milker John White, 30, was third.

Rabbidge, who could not be reached for comment, will compete in the grand final of the 2014 ANZ Young Farmer Contest in Christchurch from July 3 to 5.

The Southland Times