YFCU Members Try Their Hand at Machinery Handling

26 October 2009

YFCU Members Try Their Hand at Machinery Handling

County Armagh members Richard Boyes (Bleary YFC) and Stephen Reid (Collone YFC) were celebrating at this year’s Balmoral Show when they picked up first place in the YFCU Machinery Handling Competition.

The contest, held in association with Johnston Gilpin & Co. Limited, saw a large crowd of spectators at the Cattle Lawn, where they cheered on their teams.  Two members from clubs in each of the six counties, selected from county heats, made up the teams and there were three heats to determine which two teams took part in the final head to head.  All six counties took part to test their capabilities on a challenging course designed by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland.

Using John Deere 6230 4WD tractors with a container of water at the front, driver one in each team had to lift two bales of hay (one at a time) and drive through the designated course of gates to the end, depositing the bales on specific spots.  After safely parking the tractor and lifter in a designated garage he removes the key and returns to the start box.  Driver two then lifts the bales and reverses through the course.  The bales were repositioned in their original position. 

To give all the teams a sporting chance those waiting at the commentary box were blind folded while the first and second heats were carried out. 

Points were awarded for successfully making it through the course, lifting and setting down the bails and driving through the posts, however teams were penalised if they did not comply with safety regulations, touching markers, ground damage and for water loss at 5 seconds per centimetre.  This competition was designed to test both the drivers’ tractor skills and safety knowledge.

YFCU would like to thank Robbie Hewitt, Thomas Lyttle and Randal McConnell from Johnson Gilpin & Co.Ltd for their continued sponsorship of this event.  They would also like to thank Harry Barr, Malcolm Downey and John Spiers from the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland for designing the course and conducting the assessment on the evening. 

Pictured receiving their prize from Robbie Hewitt, of sponsor Johnson Gilpin Co Ltd are 2nd place finalists Co Antrim members Samuel Hill, Randalstown YFC and Derek Storey, Lisnamurrican YFC. 

Sheep Shearing Skills at YFCU

Members of the YFCU displayed the shear talent that exists within the association at the YFCU annual sheep shearing competition that took place on Wednesday at the 2009 Balmoral Show.

The competition, which is held in association with Lister Shearing Equipment Limited, had a novice contest for members as well as the advanced competition for the YFCU sheep shearing title .

In the novice competition 10 competitors sheared sheep in front of a packed Sale Ring.  In the end judges named James Gilpin from Moneyrea YFC as the YFCU Sheep Shearing Novice Winner for 2009 and he received a glass trophy from David John, Lister Shearing and a commemorative medal from Eric Wilson of the Worshipful Company of Woolmen for his achievement.

Then it was the turn of the experienced shearers to show their craft at its best in the YFCU Advanced Sheep Shearing Competition.  Five competitors sweated it out in a tough contest.  In the end Trevor Clarke from City of Derry YFC clinched top place and the coveted Lister Silver Hand piece.  Dennis Taylor came second and John Harbinson was placed third.

The judges were impressed with the skill and craftsmanship displayed by each of the young farmers’ members. 

Trevor Clarke was presented with the Lister Hand piece by David John from Lister Shearing Equipment Limited and he also received a commemorative medal from Eric Wilson, Master of The Worshipful Company of Woolmen for his achievement.

The association would like to thank Lister Shearing Equipment Limited for their ongoing support of the YFCU sheep shearing competition and the Worshipful Company of Woolmen for providing the commemorative medals for the competition.  The YFCU would like to extend their thanks to the sheep shearing committee at the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society for ensuring the smooth running of the competition on the day.