Winter crop contest raises $64,500

Standing in a paddock of kale (not the winning crop) are (from left) Otago Community Hospice...
Standing in a paddock of kale (not the winning crop) are (from left) Otago Community Hospice fundraising co-ordinator Becs Wilson, Helicopters Otago chief pilot Graeme Gale, Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust trustee Tony Sycamore, competition co-ordinator Drew Carruthers, Otago Rural Support Trust co-ordinator Pat Macaulay, Rotary Club of Taieri president Richard Sipthorp, Taieri Lions Club president Graeme Robertson and competition committee members. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE
The annual Taieri Winter Crop Competition and Charity Auction has returned to raise more than ever before.

Competition co-ordinator Drew Carruthers said more than 100 farmers entered winter crops between Shannon, about 20km southwest from Middlemarch, to Clarendon, about 10km northeast of Milton.

Seven teams of judges scrutinised the crops in a bid to find the two most outstanding crops. They considered factors such as yield, consistency and cleanliness of crops, relative to the environment.

More than 200 people attended a prizegiving and auction at Wingatui Function Centre at Wingatui Racecourse in Mosgiel on May 21.

"It’s not often the dairy farmers on the flat can have a really good social outing with the sheep and beef farmers up on the hill."

The winner of the FMG Cup for the most outstanding crop was a kale crop grown by James and Samuel Reid, of Minchmoor Farm Ltd.

The Rabobank Cup for the runner-up crop was awarded to Mark Butson, for his crop of fodder beet.

About 80 people attended a field day at the winning crop in Outram earlier this month.

The event, run by the Rotary Club of Taieri and Taieri Lions Club, raised $64,500, setting a record for the most money raised since the event was launched in 2014.

As the event was cancelled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, he was "really scared" approaching sponsors, but more goods and services were given by supporters than in any other year.

Sponsors gave about 75% of the $64,500 raised to give to the recipients.

The Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust and Otago Community Hospice were given $27,000 each, Otago Rural Support Trust was given $6000 and three students studying a discipline in the rural sector would be given $1500 scholarships.

Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust trustee Tony Sycamore said as the trust was a charity, it was reliant on community funding to support the service provided by Helicopters Otago chief pilot Graeme Gale and his team.

"We are eternally grateful when people choose to support us."

Otago Community Hospice fundraising co-ordinator Becs Wilson said it was "fantastic" to be involved with the "fun" event and she was "impressed" by the amount raised.

"The hospice is always incredibly grateful to receive funds generated by events which come from the community."

Otago Rural Support Trust co-ordinator Pat Macaulay said the money would help the trust continue its work of supporting farmers.

"Farming is hard at times — jolly hard — with an awful lot of stress ... if we can help farmers process their thoughts and put a plan in place to support them and go back and there is a smile on their face and a cloud has lifted — that’s just lovely."

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