Taieri farmers reckon their kale can't fail

Examining the offerings in a crop-growing competition in a kale paddock at Maungatua yesterday...
Examining the offerings in a crop-growing competition in a kale paddock at Maungatua yesterday are (from left) weighman Bart Windelgelst, committee member Ad Bekkers and weighman Colin Scurr . Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Machete-wielding weighmen cut fodder across the greater Taieri Plain yesterday for a winter crop growing competition.

Dairy farmer Lindsay Hall, of Maungatua, said contest weighmen Bart Wendelgelst, of North Taieri, Colin Scurr, of Momona, Doug McAughton, of Mosgiel, and Allen Gillespie, of Henley, should have shown up with chainsaws yesterday, rather than machetes to cut some of the giant kale crop on the 160-cow farm.

Competition committee member Ad Bekkers said 60 dairy farms on ''the flats'' and 60 sheep and beef farms on ''the hills'' entered their brassica crops in the competition.

The six crews of weighmen would weigh crops of kale, swedes, turnip and fodder beet for three days from yesterday, Mr Bekkers said.

''Then the top three of every class will be weighed by a professional.''

The heaviest crop in each class would win a prize, but for the ''ultimate prize'', the growing conditions would be considered by the judges, Mr Bekkers said.

At the prizegiving at Wingatui Racecourse on May 23, a charity auction would be held to raise money for the Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust and the Otago Community Hospice.

The Taieri Lions and Taieri Rotary Clubs organised the inaugural Taieri competition and some of their members would cook at the prizegiving.

A swede soup would be served but farmers would not be eating kale, Mr Bekkers said.

''That's more for townies.''

The competition had created some light-hearted ribbing between farmers, he said.

''The good crop growers let you know they can grow a better crop than the others.''

A field day on the winning farm would be held on May 30 so other farmers could learn how to grow heavier crops.

''That's what it's all about - growing a better crop.''


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