Winter crop contest attracts 128 entries

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On the beet . . . Weighing fodder beet for the Taieri winter crop competition are (from left) Taieri Lions Club secretary Colin Scurr, of Momona, and fellow members James Adam, of Henley, and Doug McNaughton and Eric Hyslop, both of Mosgiel, on a farm in Outram last week. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

Winter crops including burly beets and colossal kale have been weighed and the contest winners will be announced tomorrow.

Taieri winter crop competition and charity auction co-ordinator Drew Carruthers said 95 farmers had entered the FMG-sponsored competition this year, and provided 128 winter feed crops to measure, from farms from Henley to Middlemarch.

The competition winners would be announced at a dinner function at the Wingatui Racecourse tomorrow and an auction on the night would also add to the fundraising efforts, Mr Carruthers said.

This year the fundraising would first support three $1500 scholarships for tertiary study at the Telford campus or Lincoln University.

Of the remaining funds raised, 75% would be given to the Taieri Community Facilities Trust for the proposed aquatic facility in Mosgiel, and the remaining 25% to the Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust, Mr Carruthers said.

The competition had been very successful since its first year, when it raised $60,000 for charity, half of which went to the Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter and the other half to the Otago Community Hospice, he said.

The competition this year was making a “very strong statement of support” for the proposed aquatic facility, which had strong community backing, he said.

The dinner and auction had become “huge” and farmers greatly looked forward to it as an enjoyable way of socialising with others in the rural sector as winter approached, Mr Carruthers said.

Taieri Lions Club secretary Colin Scurr said crop weighing teams had weighed the latest flat-land and hill-country crops last week and after plentiful autumn rain, the crops were looking in good condition.

The annual Taieri event, now in its fifth year, had proved a “win-win” for the charities being supported, local farmers and the two service clubs involved, the Taieri Lions and the Rotary Club of Taieri, Mr Scurr said.