It’s the perfect way to end the year, celebrating the beautiful British countryside and farming’s unique diversity in a series of fantastic photographs.
With more than 7,500 photos to sort through – more than double our usual number of entries – this has been the most popular and hardest-to-judge year of the Farmers Weekly annual photo competition we can recall.
To help we invited in the winner of winners from last year’s competition, farmer Vicky Drysdale, as our guest judge.
We’ve picked a winner, runner-up and highly commended for each of the eight competition categories.
The top shot from each category will be considered for the grand prize of £250 and the coveted crown of “winner of winners” – this will be revealed in the next issue of Farmers Weekly (4 January 2019), so stay tuned.
Thanks to everyone who entered the competition this year – we were truly astounded by the standard of your entries.
We are sure that you will enjoy seeing these stunning farming and countryside photos as much as we have.
A word from our guest judge
Vicky Drysdale won Farmers Weekly’s 2017 photo competition with a colourful shot of sheep being moved on a winter’s day.
She lives and works just outside the Lake District National Park with her partner Kieren and their baby girl, Elle. They both have full-time day jobs, but also run their own flock of 140 commercial breeding ewes on the family farm.
“I was blown away by the high quality of the photo entries this year. I really enjoyed looking through them all and I can’t say how hard it was to chose our winners,” she says.
Skip to one of our eight categories
Farmer-turned-dairy genetics adviser Ryan Archer took this photo using the drone he flies for a hobby.
“It has become the only hobby I can partake in now due to various health conditions. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer that eventually spread to my spine, but droning and photography has been a brilliant and enjoyable distraction from it all,” says Ryan.
The photo was taken on Lyndon Farms, in the village of Fleckney, Leicestershire and the contractor let Ryan follow their work this harvest.
“I wanted to capture a completely different angle of the combine and was very pleased with the end result,” he adds.
“The accessibility of drones has opened up a whole new world to capture. I love how this shot has been timed so perfectly, it must have taken some real flying expertise and a lot of patience.”
This photo shows George Riddell from St Boswells in the Scottish Borders at the wheel of his Fordson tractor with Ransome plough in tow.
Curtis Welsh took this snap during the Lauderdale Ploughing Society ploughing match and says George is well-known at ploughing matches in the Scottish Borders.
“George’s vintage outfit is a great subject and over the years I have captured many images as he turns out superb work which has resulted in him collecting many awards,” says Curtis.
“A great image. The muted colour palette and the vintage tractor give a real nostalgic feel.”
This delightful dusk photo was taken by Hamish Fleming on his family’s 740ha arable farm in Marham, Norfolk where they grow cereals, potatoes, sugar beet and crops for anaerobic digestate.
“I have always had a passion for photography and was fortunate enough to capture this picture one evening in autumn while we were pulling up potato land,” he says.
“A beautiful sunset with a great silhouette. The bright lights of the tractor really draw the eye.”
Devon mixed farmer Stewart Chapple took this pig-ture perfect shot while helping out on another farm.
“I came to take this photo when I was ask to help a farmer’s wife with the work when her husband had been taken seriously ill with leukaemia,” he explains.
“While doing the morning work, I was going to feed the pigs and when I opened the top door of the stable to feed them they both jumped right up on top the door.
“I saw the opportunity for a picture. This wasn’t the first shot – it took several attempts to get the perfect photo by shaking their feed.”
“These guys just have so much character – what’s not to love about smiling pigs? The textures of the wood and the shadowy background create a fantastic piggy portrait.”
Farmer’s daughter Beth Mellor captured this stormy shot of the farm’s tups huddled together when the Beast from the East struck in March this year.
The 19-year-old is from Beadnell on the Northumberland Coast and says: “I’ve always enjoyed photography but this is the first time I’ve entered a competition so I’m shocked.”
“This image will certainly bring back memories to many. It’s tricky to get such a clean shot in light like this and I think this one is great – stormy skies, crisp snow and unamused looking tups. Very atmospheric.”
Richard Heady works on his family’s mixed farm in Buckinghamshire and is always taking pictures for social media.
“I use social media to try and promote the agricultural industry to the general public, dispel myths and educate them about farming practices,” he says.
“This picture was taken in the late spring when we had just let out a bunch of cows and calves. We had been getting some fantastic sunsets, so I headed out with my camera and tripod and snapped this cheeky bunch playing on a heap of rubble.”
“This is just a really clean set of silhouettes and the vivid colour of that sky is just amazing.”
Manon Fosburgh took this photo of her Border collie Naya while working in a field of barley. She tests grain samples and works on variety trials on the Great Tew Estate near Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire.
“To be honest I just fell in love with the country side, this lifestyle and my work. Naya is with me all day, everyday and she loves to pose for the camera.”
“The lighting of this shot is fantastic, as well as the textures of the crop, golden sun flare and a perfectly positioned pooch. Definitely a winning photo.”
Jemma Hopkins, 19, from Mid Wales captured this moment while out on the beef and sheep farm with her puppy Floss.
“She didn’t seem to happy to be staying on the quad with me by the looks of her face. So I thought it was the perfect photo opportunity.”
“I love how the photographer has captured the expression on the pup’s face. ‘You want me to do what?’”
Veterinary technician Julia Slater snapped this lovely photo of Rosie the cocker spaniel while she was checking the stock on her partner’s beef and sheep farm in the Orkney Islands.
“I was closing a gate and noticed her standing very proud on the bike, so quickly got my phone out and just as I took the photo a gust of wind came along and caught her long ears with it,” says the 23-year-old.
“She does however like to pose a lot, even when the camera isn’t on her.”
“Lovely focus on the subject, I love how the wind has caught her ear and her head sits above the horizon. This dog’s in its happy place and it made me smile.”
This stunning sunrise shot was captured by John Wynne in North Wales using his iPhone.
It shows his working dog Billy taking in the amazing misty morning view as they went about their early rounds on the farm near the village of Llangernyw in Conwy County Borough. He farms 250 texel cross-breeding ewes on his 32ha holding.
“I think many of us have experienced moments like this, I’m really glad this entrant took the time to stop and take a picture so we could enjoy it too.
“The colours of the sky, the inversion of the clouds and the quad and collie in the foreground all add to this immersive image.”
Farmer Anna Kerruish took this photo during the November tupping gather. She farms on the Isle of Man, running both lowland and hill flocks.
“Maughold Mountain has a flock of 1,000 Swaledale ewes and is gathered over three days. Two quad bikes and two or three on foot with dogs for the steeper sections. This is the final river crossing on day three before reaching the in-bye fields,” she says.
“The crossing pictured is at the Cornaa Mines, where lead was mined in the 19th century.”
“Lots of interest in this image. I really like how the line of sheep seem to mirror the fells behind them. I also like the rustic colours of the heathers, bracken and stone.”
Arable farmer William Armstrong took this fantastic harvest shot highlighted by the most incredible orange sky in north Northumberland.
“This photo was taken this August – the sun was setting on a busy day of oat harvesting. As the sun lowered towards the horizon the clouds in the sky caught fire.
“I’m always looking for a decent photo opportunity and this one was handed to me on a plate. Luckily, I had my iPhone with me to capture the scene,” he says.
“A really atmospheric shot full of colour and texture.”
This wonderful moment was captured by beef and sheep farmer Elen Hughes from the Llyn peninsula in North Wales – it was taken while she was rousying for a local shearing gang at a local family farm.
“This is Sion, the youngest son taking some tips from John the shearer, as he’ll probably soon be on a shearing stand himself,” says 24-year-old Elen.
“Luckily my phone was near – so I was able to snap this cute photo. I had to be quick though, because he was soon off to the back of the race to help drive the sheep up.”
“I hope he’s getting ready to grab that fleece. To me, this photo tells such a great story about how farming skills are passed down through generations. I love how absorbed in the process this little boy is.”
Mari Lloyd lives on a farm in Gwynedd, North Wales and has been studying photography.
This shot is part of her documentary project which documents the farming life in the valley of Cwm Nantcol, where she is from.
“For six months I was following these farmers, documenting their daily lives and routines. I have a strong interest in storytelling and capturing people in their surroundings,” she says.
“This image is really gritty, a glimpse in to the world of some of the hard-working traditional craftspersons who maintain so many miles of stone wall.”
Beef farmer Lianne Salt took this wonderful photo of three-year-old Evie Paulson getting ready for the showing season with her calf. This shot was taken with Lianne’s iPhone.
“She loves helping on the family farm and halter training her South Devon bull calf called Gordon,” she says. “I wanted to take a photo of them together but as I was about to take the photo she gave him a quick kiss on his head and I was lucky enough to capture the moment.
“Evie is such a confident and caring young person – this photo really reflects that.”
“This is such a cute photo – need I say more?”
Black and white
This photo was taken by Ruth Chamberlain on a cold February morning’s feeding rounds while she was visiting her cousin in the Scottish Borders.
“I saw this incredible effect on the sheep when they were backlit by the low sun. The kelpies were watching the flock and created these great silhouettes, she says.
While not from a farming family herself, she’s always lived in rural Cumbria and loves to take photos of the countryside.
“Farming is so important to our country and economy and I love learning about it.”
“Such an amazing photo. The lighting on the sheep’s backs and the silhouettes of the dogs watching the flock. I wish I’d taken this photo.”
Sorcha Lewis farms sheep and cattle in the Elan Valley in Mid Wales on a traditional upland hills farm with her husband and two children.
“This lamb was captured at lambing time in April sheltering next to the quad bike and I took the picture as I came back from feeding the ewes nearby. His little floppy ears made him look really endearing.”
“How could I not love this photo? Great composition and an adorable subject.”
Claire Rhind captured this dusty shot of her husband Graeme sowing spring barley on the farm near Kinloss in Morayshire.
“In addition to our own farm my husband runs a contracting business, which gives me lots of opportunities for photos,” she says.
“The light bouncing off of the dust has created a really interesting photo. It has amazing depth for a black-and-white image.”
This excellent photo of two deer in a field of was taken by Jody Gaisford around Northwood Farm, Colerne, Wiltshire.
“I had driven past the field on my way home from work and noticed the two deer, but didn’t have my camera with me and assumed it was an opportunity missed,” he says.
“The next day, driving past the same field, I noticed the two deer were there, but again I didn’t have my camera with me. The third day I was ready and had my camera.”
“A wonderful capture – I bet they didn’t hang around long. Great use of depth of field to draw the focus to the deer.”
Despite it being a rather miserable day, Plymouth-based Andrew Richards managed to this red-breasted robin while walking around the Saltram House National Trust estate.
“As the weather got worse I spotted this little one missing it’s tail feathers, who was very keen to pose,” he says. “I’ve always loved the outdoors and wildlife.”
“Such a sweet image. Lovely soft bokeh behind the robin.”
This striking close up of a jackdaw is the work of 20-year-old farmer’s son Ashley Bennett from Aberdeenshire.
“I had seen this jackdaw coming to the bird feeder for a few days, so waited with my camera and luckily I got a photo,” he says.
“I wanted to get a photo because of the unusual colour of its plumage, and that’s why I entered it into the competition.”
“I love this close up shot. It’s slightly comical and those eyes are so piercing.”
This wonderful misty photo was taken in October by 13-year-old Katie Rogers from Hayle in Cornwall. She loves to help her dad bucket-feed calves and works on the farm at weekends and holidays.
“I went to take my dog Rupert for a walk in the sheep field and I spontaneously came to take this photo on a misty morning, when the fields were filled with cobwebs,” she says.
“I love the low perspective of this photo, as well as the mist behind the sheep, the dew on the grass and the glow of the morning sun. All together, it’s magical.”
“A really sweet photo, the lighting is fab and I love steam rising off of the new calf. The soft focus of the background is great too.”
You can tell that 14-year-old Charley Mudge from Tavistock in Devon is studying photography as one of her GCSEs.
She loves working with her dad on the farm and took this photo of the rams on a wet March morning while out checking and feeding the livestock on the edge of Dartmoor.
“Photography and animals will always be a passion of mine and I am so lucky to be in a position where I can combine the two,” she says.
“A brilliantly composed shot and a lovely use of a low perspective.”