Alpacas were used in place of cattle when Tasman region young farmers squared off recently.

The Mycoplasma bovis outbreak meant alpacas replaced cattle in the stock-judging competition in the Tasman Region Young Farmers' Competitions Day at Oxford.

Young farmers from around the region competed in clay target shooting, fencing, stock judging and debating competitions at the Oxford Showgrounds.

Competitors were vying for a place in the national finals to be held in conjunction with the new-look conference week, in Christchurch next February.

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Burnham dairy farmer Martin Bates was on target to win the clay target shooting competition, with Cam Lowery second to qualify for the national final.

''I reckon the changes are a good thing,'' Mr Bates said.

''Previously those events were held alongside the FMG Young Farmer of the Year grand final.

Martin Bates, of Burnham, was on target in the Tasman young farmers' clay target shooting competition. Photo / NZ Young Farmers
Martin Bates, of Burnham, was on target in the Tasman young farmers' clay target shooting competition. Photo / NZ Young Farmers

''It meant that if you were competing you didn't get to see much of the grand final. Now people can attend both events.''

He said there was a good mix of experienced sports shooters and first-timers ''who were keen to have a go and learn''.

Tasman young farmers test their skills judging sheep. Photo / New Zealand Young Farmers
Tasman young farmers test their skills judging sheep. Photo / New Zealand Young Farmers

Braydon Schroder won the stock judging and will represent the region in the national final along with Laura McQuillan-Reese. Peter O'Connor and Philippa Mee qualified in the fencing competition.

The Tasman region covers from Rakaia River north, including North Canterbury, Nelson, Marlborough and the West Coast.