First-class standard in revived Silver Secateurs competition
Grape vine pruners from across the district competed strongly yesterday as the Silver Secateurs competition was reinvigorated after a break of more than 10 years.
More than 50 pruners from LeaderBrand and horticulture contractors fought it out over a couple of hours in vines at the company's Ashwood Park vineyard at Makaraka.
“The standard of competition yesterday afternoon was first-class,” said LeaderBrand farming general manager Gordon McPhail.
“I told them all in my speech that I'd like to see them go head to head with any other grape pruners from anywhere else in the country.
“That's our goal — to re-establish the Silver Secateurs as an annual competition and to broaden it out across New Zealand,” he said.
“We want to celebrate and recognise the professionalism that exists in the grape industry.
“Pruners don't get enough recognition for just how skilful they are.”
The pruners who took part yesterday were tested on the quality of their work, their cane selection and timing.
“Proper pruning goes a long way to determining the yields and quality of a grape crop, and sets the vines up for the season to come,” Mr McPhail said.
The competition was a regular annual fixture until it stopped in 2009.
The champion pruner and pruner of the year titles went to Maurice Whaitiri (of Farmcare); champion wrapper was Kenneth Morgan (Farmcare) and the team winners were the TK Rollers team of Leon Hemi, Jax Ferguson and Richard Hemi; top woman pruner was Lisa Eyles (Tuamotu Contracting).