2017 Farms Competition Results

The annual Melplash Agricultural Society’s Farms competition gives farmers living within a 12 miles radius of Melplash village church, the opportunity to gain recognition for their business skills, good husbandry and dedication to looking after the countryside.  There are three categories – Small (up to 300 acres), Mixed Large and Large Dairy.  Each category is judged by a team of judges who assess the overall management of the farm.  They look at the profitability, the farming system, the crops, and the livestock.   Special awards in each category are given for conservation and environmental practises and for the best ley.

2017 Results

SMALL FARMS                   Judge:  Mr Chris Griffin, Sturminster Newton 

Bridge Farm farmed by the Wallbridge family in Hooke, small farm winner.

1st – Mr James Wallbridge, Bridge Farm, Hooke

2nd – Mr & Mrs David and Ruth Wilkins, Rampisham Hill Farm, Rampisham

3rd – Mr Matthew Bagwell, Wytherston Farm, Powerstock

Best Ley;  Mr James Wallbridge, Bridge Farm, Hooke

Best Environmental:  Joint winners;  Mr & Mrs D Stover, Lower Brimley Coombe Farm, Stoke Abbot and Mr Matthew Bagwell, Wytherston Farm, Rampisham

LARGE FARMS                   Judge:  Mr R. Parris, Taunton 

Larkham Farm in Holywell farmed by Messrs Newman

1st – Messrs Newman, Larkham Farm, Holywell

2nd – Mr Brian Huxter, Symondsbury Estate, Symondsbury

3rd – Mr & Mrs Nick Bragg, Frogmary Green Farm, South Petherton

Best Ley:  Mr Stephen Raymond, Childhay Organic Dairy, Beaminster

Best Environmental: Mr & Mrs Nick Bragg, Frogmary Green Farm, South Petherton


LARGE DAIRY FARMS     Judge:   Mr R. Dare & Mr J. Hurford  

1st – Mr Will Frost & Mr Julian Kennard, Forde Grange Goats and Forde Abbey Farm, Chard

2nd – Mr James Bowditch, R.B. Bowditch & Son, North Bowood Farm, Salway Ash

3rd – Mr Edward Bowditch, Cooper Dean Estate, Parnham Farm, Netherbury

Best Ley: Mr Edward Bowditch, Cooper Dean Estate, Parnham Farm, Netherbury

Best Environmental: Mr Arthur Crutchley, Crutchley Farms, Nettlecombe

A total of 18 farms around the area were judged.  The winner of the large farms category, Mr Bernard Newman who farms Larkham Farm near Evershot with his wife Sheila and son Tim.  The farm boasts 900 acres and rear dairy replacement heifers.  They have 1700 head ranging from 1 week to 2 years old, after which they return to the milking herds. In the summer, they are outside on grass and housed in winter fed on grass silage and whole crop wheat.  Animal welfare is their top priority.  “Having been associated with the Society for many years, it is a great honour to have won the competition and for the work we do to have been recognised.  We would like to thank the Judges for giving their valuable time” said Bernard Newman.

The winners of each category will receive their awards from the Society’s 2017 President Mr Ralph Newman at the Melplash Show on Thursday 27 August.