Left to right: Henry Smith (4th), Ben Galloway (2nd), Hamish Hammond (1st) and Andrew Moffatt (3rd). PHOTO/SUPPLIED

GIANINA SCHWANECKE

gianina.schwanecke@age.co.nz

Quad bike driving, shearing, first aid, sewing and equine care were just some of the skills tested at the FMG Young Farmer of the Year district contest in Pongaroa.

Four Wairarapa young farmers will head to the East Coast Regional finals after battling it out against 13 other competitors.

Greytown dairy farmer Hamish Hammond took out first place.

It was his second time competing, the 29-year-old having previously placed second at the regional finals.

Unlike his sheep and beef counterparts, he said he struggled a bit with the shearing module but eased through the dairy section.

“I spend 99 per cent of my time on the dairy farm working with the cows and grass,” he said. “It was quite simple for me.”

Hammond said he signed up to challenge himself to learn more and to meet others in the industry.

“There’s still a lot of opportunities for young people out there.”

It was also Henry Smith’s second time competing.

The 24-year-old shepherd from Palliser Ridge, in Pirinoa, placed fourth this year.

“It was more difficult than last year,” he said. “I thought I would have been a bit more prepared but didn’t study enough for the dairy component.”

Smith said he would “go hard” at the regionals and would work on his weaknesses.

First time competitor Ben Galloway placed second.

“I think it’s good to challenge yourself against other young farmers,” he said.

The 24-year-old has just returned to working on the family farm in Woodville and was also named the Tararua Shepherd of the Year in May.

He said he enjoyed the range of categories and skills being tested, particularly the shearing section which he had some experience in.

Galloway is a member of the Puketoi Young Farmers Club who organised a successful bark up with about 50 dogs after the competition.

He said he was stoked that the club had helped raise $4000 for the Will to Live charity.

It was also the first time competing for Kahutara sheep and beef farmer Andrew Moffat who placed third.

The 28-year-old said he decided to join because he wanted to have a crack at winning the motorbike on offer at the regional finals.

He enjoyed himself though and said he’d do it again.

“It was a good time.”

The other East Coast district contest and skills day will be held in Gisborne on November 30.

The finalists from this competition will head to the regional finals early next year alongside the four Wairarapa winners to compete for places at the national competition.