NEW categories have been announced for a series of farming competitions taking place this summer.

The Melplash Agricultural Society is introducing new categories for grassland and crops this year alongside their usual small, medium and large farm competitions in place to recognise the hard work and dedication of west Dorset farmers.

The new categories are short-term cutting ley - land put down to grass, clover, etc for a single season - long-term cutting ley - land put down to grass typically for four years or more - best field of winter wheat, best field of winter barley, best field of spring barley and best field of oats.

Robert Bowditch, director of the Melplash Agricultural Society, said: "The Society’s farm competitions recognise and commend the good practices of West Dorset Farmers. It assesses their husbandry, financial and business skills as well as their dedication to looking after the countryside.

"Many farmers we know will be missing the social aspects and friendly rivalry of the Melplash Show. We hope the new classes will be an exciting challenge for all farmers and growers and will encourage pride and healthy competitiveness."

The winner of any grassland and crop categories will take home £50, whilst the prize money for farm categories is £75.

The competition is open to farms and small holdings of all sizes within a 12-mile radius of Melplash village church. All classes are free to enter and offer prize money and certificates for the first three places.

The competition schedules and entry forms are available online at Closing date for entries is Wednesday, June 23.