Despite the terrible weather, and thanks to marquees still available from the recent Canterbury A&P Show, the Synlait Boys and Girls Agricultural Club Championship Day was held yesterday (Thursday 17 November) at ASB Agricultural Park.
Outlying Canterbury Primary Schools were given the opportunity to compete in livestock judging, similar to what they would experience at an A&P Show. To qualify for the Championships, entrants had to have attended a school pet day within their region.
Nearly 80 entries were received, comprising beef calves, dairy calves, lambs, poultry and pigs. Entries were received from: Springston School, Oxford Area School, Ohoka School, Tai Tapu Primary, View Hill School, Darfield High School, Ladbrooks School, Leeston Consolidated School, West Melton School, Broadfield School, Hororata Primary School, Southbrook School, and Lincoln Primary.
Students were judged across three sections: Care and Attention, Leading and Handling and their Project Books which were submitted prior to the Canterbury A&P Show.
Each participant was required to parade their animal in front of the judges and answer questions on their care. After some serious deliberation, winners across all sections and classes were decided. Entrants received a certificate and Tip Top ice cream. Winning entries also received ribbons and trophies.
Warrick James, President of the Canterbury A&P Association, said that the annual event was a success.
"Despite the weather the kids had a great day – it was fantastic to see the Members Marquee from the Show being put to good use!
"Youth development is a cornerstone objective for the Canterbury A&P Association, so this is a really important event on our calendar. Getting children interested in animal welfare and care from a young age benefits the A&P movement and the agricultural industry as a whole.
"It's fantastic to have the support of our volunteers who come along and judge the stock and that of our sponsor Synlait. They're so involved at a community level and share our values too."
Supporting children showing an interest in animals is something Synlait is very happy to do according to Mark Burnside, Synlait's Milk Supply Relationship Manager.
"We want to support those youngsters who commit time to seriously looking after their animals. Our hope is they hold on to their interest in livestock and farming, and will in time, establish futures in the sector," said Mark.
"Whether it is in a farming capacity or in the wider agriculture sector, we are going to need a growing number of people looking at these roles as serious career opportunities."
CHAMPION AND RESERVE CHAMPION PLACINGS
Dairy Calves – Junior (Years 1-4)
Champion: Louis Dalley (Leeston School)
Reserve Champion: Ella Smith (Oxford Area School)
Dairy Calves – Senior (Years 5-8)
Champion: Sam Stalker (Lincoln Primary)
Reserve Champion: Hannah King (Darfield High)
Beef Calves – Junior (Years 1-4)
Champion: Daniel Stokes (Oxford Area School)
Reserve Champion: Merrick Pringle (Springston School)
Beef Calves – Senior (Years 5-8)
Champion: Jody Hardwick (Tai Tapu School)
Reserve Champion: Marshall Stokes (Oxford Area School)
Lambs – Junior (Years 1-4)
Champion: Dustin Rowlands (Hororata School)
Reserve Champion: McKenzie Rowlands (Hororata School)
Lambs – Senior (Years 5-8)
Champion: Lucy Barrowclough (Springston School)
Reserve Champion: Emma Hay (Ladbrooks School)
Poultry Junior (Years 1-4)
Champion: Amelia McConnochie (Leeston Consolidated)
Reserve Champion: Toby Benison (Springston School)
Poultry – Senior (Years 5-8)
Champion: Emily Neal (Tai Tapu Primary School)
Reserve Champion: Oliver Smith (Oxford Area School)
Champion: Elijah Grieve (Tai Tapu School)