Robert Smyth wins YFCU soil assessment title

Left to right are the winners from the YFCU Soil Assessment Competition, James Purcell, Dungiven YFC (second place); Robert Smyth, Randalstown YFC (first place); YFCU President Roberta Simmons; Michael Creighton from sponsor of the competition Tesco and Richard Black, Lisnamurrican YFC (third place)
Left to right are the winners from the YFCU Soil Assessment Competition, James Purcell, Dungiven YFC (second place); Robert Smyth, Randalstown YFC (first place); YFCU President Roberta Simmons; Michael Creighton from sponsor of the competition Tesco and Richard Black, Lisnamurrican YFC (third place)
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Robert Smyth from Randalstown YFC has won the 2016 YFCU Soil Assessment competition, run with the support of Tesco at the Northern Ireland Ploughing Championships held at Limavady on October 1st.

The contest saw members assess a selected soil profile that tested their ability to distinguish important soil qualities such as texture and type.

David Oliver and James Purcell from Dungiven YFC at the YFCU Soil Assessment Competition sponsored by Tesco

David Oliver and James Purcell from Dungiven YFC at the YFCU Soil Assessment Competition sponsored by Tesco

Competitors then had to present to the judges the expected performance of the soils regarding drainage, cultivation, cropping, and fertilization practice.

The soil profiles were selected by expert judges, Robin Bolton and Ian McMaw from CAFRE.

In addition to overseeing the adjudication of the event, the judges also offered guidance to the competitors.

YFCU President Roberta Simmons announced the results of the competition and the top three competitors were presented with their prizes. Robert Smyth from Randalstown YFC took first place and was presented with the prestigious BP Trophy and a cheque. In second place was James Purcell from Dungiven YFC who received a cheque and in third place was Richard Black from Lisnamurrican YFC who also received a cheque prize.

YFCU members at the Soil Assessment Competition

YFCU members at the Soil Assessment Competition

Roberta brought the contest to a close with a word of thanks and said: “I would like to extend a note of thanks to Robin Bolton and Ian McMaw from CAFRE for giving up their time to judge the competition. We are grateful again for the support from Tesco.

“The ability to assess soil is an important skill to have as it has a bearing on cropping and fertilization practices.

“Lastly I would like to thank all the stewards for their help, as well as the NI Ploughing Association for their assistance over the past few months.”