Farmers and graziers have put their top paddocks up for scrutiny as part of an annual competition.
Paddocks from across the Highlands were entered in the 2016 Pasture Competition.
Organiser Mick Vaughan said the competition’s 52 entrants spanned from Penrose to Woodlands.
“It gives everyone the opportunity to see how much better someone else’s paddocks are, and gives you ideas to improve your own paddocks and pastures,” he said.
“Plus you get to see which varieties are the best [for the area].”
Senior Land Services officer (pastures) Amanda Britton was invited to judge the paddocks on October 17 and 18 before the awards night on October 19.
She said she was interested to see the new products people were trialling and experimenting with on their properties.
“I based my judgement on pasture species, quality and quantity, appearance, fertiliser used, soil testing, weeds, pasture health and sowing date,” she said.
‘Spring Hill’ Highland Angus Stud owners Peter, David and Tom Robertson took out the top prize, winning the Ken Sharpe Champion Pasture Award.
Peter Robertson said they were told their pasture was the best Ms Britton had seen in 19 years.
“It’s massively important that we have good pasture, as we’ve got to produce long, strong cows and bulls,” he said.
“This is our first time in the competition, we definitely didn’t expect to win champion.”
The Snow Donovan Memorial Encouragement Award was given to Jack Hayes for his contribution on his family’s dairy farm.
Entrant Jim Colquhoun said the competition allowed farmers to learn about different farming practices across the region, and provided incentives to improve.
“You’ve got everything in this competition, from places focused on beef operations through to the flashest rye grass and clover mixes I’ve ever seen,” he said.
Paddocks could be entered across five categories: beef pasture, milk pasture, new pasture, fodder conservation and legume-based pasture.
Entrants paid an entry fee for the competition, and all proceeds will go to The Robertson Showgrounds.
The awards evening was held at the Robertson Bowling Club, and is organised by the Robertson Agricultural and Horticultural Show Society Inc.
Best Pasture for Milk –
- Third: Greg Schofield
- Second: Evan Hayes
- First: Grant Sherbourne
Best Pasture for Beef –
- Third: Mick Vaughan
- Second: David Leckie
- First: Peter Robertson, ‘Spring Hill’
Best Fodder Conservation Pasture –
- Third: William Sherbourne
- Second: Kevin Smith
- First: Michael Allen
Best New Pasture (established within previous two years) –
- Third: Evan Hayes
- Second: Jim Colquhoun
- First: Phil Herford
Best Legume-based Pasture –
- Third: Bryant McEvilly
- Second: Peter Robertson, ‘Spring Hill’
- First: Jack Hayes
Snow Donovan Memorial Encouragement Award: Jack Hayes
Ken Sharpe Champion Pasture: ‘Spring Hill’