Robert Smyth wins YFCU soil assessment title 2017

Robert Smyth from Randalstown YFC has won the 2017 YFCU soil assessment competition, run with the support of Tesco at the Northern Ireland Ploughing Championships held at Donaghcloney on Saturday 30th September.

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

Left to right: Stephen Magill from competition sponsor Tesco, James Purcell who came second, winner of the soil assessment competition Robert Smyth, Christopher Fletcher who came third, YFCU president James Speers and judge Iain Johnston

Left to right: Stephen Magill from competition sponsor Tesco, James Purcell who came second, winner of the soil assessment competition Robert Smyth, Christopher Fletcher who came third, YFCU president James Speers and judge Iain Johnston

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

The soil profiles were selected by expert judges Ian McMaw from CAFRE and Iain Johnston.

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

YFCU president James Speers 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 Christopher Fletcher from Collone YFC who also received a cheque prize.

James brought the contest to a close with a word of thanks and said: “I would like to extend a note of thanks to the judges Ian McMaw and Iain Johnston 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 fertilisation 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.”