Stratford accountant Tracy Kivell can now add operating a chainsaw and measuring pasture to her growing list of skills.

The 25-year-old was one of a dozen women who took part in a special Skills Day at Toko on Saturday.

They learnt how to fence, manoeuvre a quad bike and trailer through a narrow opening, assemble and operate a chainsaw, measure and allocate grass to cows and conduct pre-start checks on a tractor.

"I'd never used a chainsaw or a plate meter before," says Tracy, who lives on a Midhirst dairy farm, but works at accountancy firm CMK.


"It was great to be able to give them a go without large crowds of people watching,"

The day was organised by Central Taranaki Young Farmers (CTYF) in the lead-up to qualifying events for the FMG Young Farmer of the Year. The prestigious contest marks its 50th anniversary next July.

"A lot of people are often too nervous to have a crack," says CTYF chairman Nick Brown.

"Our goal was to give them the chance to try a few common modules in a more friendly, supportive and relaxed environment." He hopes the event will help boost the number of women competing.

Kelsi Bayly lives on a dairy farm at Cardiff, but works in town.

"Usually, I wouldn't know where to start with a chainsaw, but today I cut up a log," says Kelsi.

"It's such a good skill to have, even if you don't use it every day."

Her team mate Jessie Waite says the Skills Day has given the pair the confidence to enter a district competition.

"I'm always the one that's encouraging others to enter. But I think I should put my money where my mouth is and give it a go," Jessie says.

District contests will be held in Urenui on November 4 and Hawera on November 18.
The top two contestants at each event will secure a place in the FMG Young Farmer of the Year regional final.