Former Dannevirke shearer Sam Welch is planning a five-stand challenge over eight hours near Papakura in just under four weeks.

These days also a contractor and stud sheep breeder at Waikaretu in Waikato, he's putting the bid together with his wife and fellow world recordholder Emily, and Tony Clayton-Greene.

In January 2012 Sam and Te Kuiti shearer Stacey Te Huia set a nine-hour, two-stand ewe-shearing record of 1341, while Emily holds the women's solo lambshearing record for lambs - 648 in 2007.

Sam will lead the December challenge, which will also involve Otago-based Marlborough shearer and 2012 PGG Wrightson National series champion Angus Moore, to whom Emily finished runner-up in the 2007 Golden Shears senior final. Others taking the stand will be Sam's brother, Richard, 2007 Golden Shears intermediate third placegetter Te Akau shearer Cole L'Huillier, and Waikato shearer Peter Totorewa.

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No five-stand, eight-hour lambshearing record is listed by the World Sheep Shearing Records Society, so as long as all rules are met on the day the tally will be recognised as the record.

The shearers are expected to try for a tally of more than 3000, and maybe top the average of 639 shorn in a four-stand record in Southland earlier this year.

It will be the biggest shearing record challenge since a six-stand lambs record for nine hours was achieved in Southland in 2005.

Back to the beginning

Former record-breaking All Black prop Greg Somerville will go back to where it all started when he's guest speaker at the Smedley Station Cadet Training Farm graduation next month.

Somerville, 35, was at Smedley fresh out of school in 1996-1997, and played Colts grade rugby for local club Onga-Tiko.

He never played senior club rugby in Hawke's Bay, but in his first year out of Smedley made his first-class debut, a single match for Canterbury in an NPC semifinal loss to Waikato.

With just that match behind him, he won a Super Rugby contract and in 1999 played the first of his 115 matches in 10 seasons with the Crusaders, including six title wins. In 2000 he played the first of his 66 matches for New Zealand, a 102-0 win over Tonga.

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He later set a record for the most All Black matches before scoring a try - 41. For a time he also held the record for the most test appearances by an All Blacks prop. The graduation will be in the Smedley woolshed on December 12.

Entries open

Entries are now being accepted for the 2014 Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Maori Excellence in Farming Award in dairying, with particular interest from trusts and incorporations.

In conjunction with the awards will be the Young Maori Farmer of the Year contest.

Entries close on November 29, and a judging panel will visit all of the entrants and will decide three finalists, who will be announced at a function at Parliament on the February 19.

In March field days will be held on each of the finalist properties, and a new panel will decide the winner, to be named at the awards dinner being held in Tauranga in June.