Farmers and their best friends took to the stage to compete for top dog at this year’s Balfour Young Farmers Bark Up competition.
Balfour Young Farmers spokeswoman Rachael Hoogenboom said entries exceeded expectations, with 39 farmers and their dogs competing in freezing conditions at the Balfour Rugby Club grounds on Friday night.
‘‘Dogs were judged on a number of criteria, including facing the owner when they barked. They also needed to have a good consistent strong bark,’’ she said.
The event was community-focused and family friendly, and aimed at giving local young farmers something fun to do in the middle of winter while also raising the profile of the club, she said.
‘‘Balfour Young Farmers was re-established three years ago and we are going strong.

‘‘This event, in its second year is proving popular, with entry numbers doubling from last winter, which attracted 15 entries.’’

There were three categories in the Bark Up, including a pet section.
Anthony Graham won the working dog category with his dog Lexi.
The Bark Up was run in conjunction with the Balfour Lions hay and baleage competition, in which farmers from around the district donated feed which was judged before being sold back to farmers.
Balfour Lions Club president John Van Vliet said the two event complemented each other well.
‘‘The Bark Up and the hay competition work well together to bring the local farming community together in the middle of the winter.
‘‘We are in our 39th year and we are enjoying seeing the younger farmers come along and support our event while we support theirs,’’ he said.

This year in the hay competition hay and baleage fetched an average price of $60 per bale, and a total of $9500 was raised. The money is to go back to local community organisations.
Money raised at the Bark Up is to be put towards a new rescue helicopter pad in Lumsden.