GALLERY: Up for the challenge of farm fun

A CHAOTIC farm-based challenge provided a light-hearted spectacle as hundreds filed through the gates at the Sungold Field Days yesterday.

Matt Reynolds (left), Andrea Fahey, Rob Swinton and Zita Ritchie from the winning Farmer Challenge team Crouching Cow, Hidden Tractor, make a scarecrow.

Matt Reynolds (left), Andrea Fahey, Rob Swinton and Zita Ritchie from the winning Farmer Challenge team Crouching Cow, Hidden Tractor, make a scarecrow.

Participants in the Young Dairy Development Program (YDDP) competition had their eyes on the prize as they completed an elaborate range of challenges including scarecrow-making, grain sack races and flower arranging.

The winning group, calling itself “Crouching Cow, Hidden Tractor” gained a cash prize and is set to compete in the YDDP competition grand final scheduled for the Royal Melbourne Show later this year.

Group member Matt Reynolds said the win was unexpected, given most participants decided to enter the competition only hours before it started.

“It was all in the name of a bit of fun,” the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) project officer said.

”We just got a group together over lunch and thought we’d enter.

”It’s harder work than it looks.”

There was an agricultural flavour to the competition with participants swiftly drinking a large bottle of chocolate milk before setting up an electric fence and assembling polypipe as the stopwatch ticked over.

“We didn’t think we’d win because we’re all service providers, not farmers,” participant Zita Ritchie said.

Meanwhile, a parade of vintage and modern tractors provided entertainment for spectators with Nullawarre’s Glenda Cornell taking part in the procession.

Younger field days participants also got in on the act with Nullawarre toddler Chloe Burleigh, 1, clambering onto a gaudy pink motorbike with a little help from mother Abby.

The annual event wraps up today with Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss outlining the Abbott Government’s views on agricultural policy.

Mr Truss will make the keynote address at the field days luncheon and will meet with farmers and stallholders.

Capping off the three-day event this evening will be The Standard’s Dairy Industry Dinner at Warrnambool’s Mid City Motel.

The best and brightest of south-west agriculture are expected to attend the annual dinner with a charity auction of a painted milk can for the Leila Rose Foundation included in the evening’s proceedings.

Winner of the On The Land rural achiever award will pick up $1000 and the runner-up $500.

Farmer Challenge winning team, Matt Reynolds, Andrea Fahey, Rob Swinton and Zita Ritchie from Crouching Cow, Hidden Tractor.

Farmer Challenge winning team, Matt Reynolds, Andrea Fahey, Rob Swinton and Zita Ritchie from Crouching Cow, Hidden Tractor.

Chloe Burleigh, 1, with mum Abby Burleigh from Nullawarre.

Chloe Burleigh, 1, with mum Abby Burleigh from Nullawarre.

Jayden Gass, 7, from Simpson having a rest.

Jayden Gass, 7, from Simpson having a rest.

Vintage rally parade.

Vintage rally parade.

Glenda Cronell from Nullawarre driving an old Ferguson tractor.

Glenda Cronell from Nullawarre driving an old Ferguson tractor.

Glenda Cronell from Nullawarre.

Glenda Cronell from Nullawarre.

Luke Davison from Grass Growers in Terang, looking through maize crop.

Luke Davison from Grass Growers in Terang, looking through maize crop.

Farmer Challenge team Sandhill Worms members Denis Gallagher, Travis Membrey Lachie Beatson and  Brett Membrey.

Farmer Challenge team Sandhill Worms members Denis Gallagher, Travis Membrey Lachie Beatson and Brett Membrey.

Farmer Challenge team Zoetis-Reids members Laura O'Çonnell, Ebony Churchill, Matthew Glennen and Will Conheady in the flower arrangement challenge.

Farmer Challenge team Zoetis-Reids members Laura O'Çonnell, Ebony Churchill, Matthew Glennen and Will Conheady in the flower arrangement challenge.

Farmer Challenge team Sandhill Worms in the lung capacity test, as Jacquie Cotton from National Farmers Health Centre tests Brett Membrey, with Denis Gallagher, Lachie Beatson and Travis Membrey looking on.

Farmer Challenge team Sandhill Worms in the lung capacity test, as Jacquie Cotton from National Farmers Health Centre tests Brett Membrey, with Denis Gallagher, Lachie Beatson and Travis Membrey looking on.

Crouching Cow, Hidden Tractor's winning scarecrow.

Crouching Cow, Hidden Tractor's winning scarecrow.