The 2009 Auckland Hauraki Sharemilkers of the Year, Gavin and Sally Roden, came up against old foes as they won a tight contest in the region.

The Rodens and the second and third place-getters in the competition had all won merit awards in the competition last year, entering a further time to gain benefits from the experience.

Gavin and Sally Roden say they entered the competition again to improve their farm business and achieve their farming goals.

“We also think the competition provides a good challenge in that we have to present ourselves and farm business to complete strangers.”

The couple won $14,000 in cash and prizes for their win in the Auckland Hauraki Dairy Industry Awards. Manurewa 30% sharemilkers Jacco and Carmen Verheij placed second, winning $7900 in cash and prizes, and third place went to Steve and Andrea Mills, winning $5800 in prizes.

The Rodens are currently 32% lower order sharemilking 220 cows for Crofton Hamilton at Waiuku and are targeting production of 83,000kg milksolids this season ending May 31.

The couple has been in the industry since 1998 and has been lower order sharemilking for the past three years. “Our strengths are learning to produce more off what we have and having the backing of our owners.”

Their goals are to go 50% sharemilking and ultimately achieve farm ownership.

The Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, Honda, DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown and RD1, along with industry partner Agriculture ITO.

The 2009 Auckland Hauraki Farm Manager of the Year, James Haldane, and 2009 Auckland Hauraki Dairy Trainee of the Year, Ben Rohrlach, were also announced at the awards dinner held at Alexandra Park Raceway in Auckland last night.

All three winners will now compete for the New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year titles and a prize pool of more than $100,000 in Wellington on May 16.

James Haldane manages a 290ha farm milking more than 800 cows at Ngatea for Landcorp. He is targeting production of 300,000kg milksolids this season. Mr Haldane has been in the industry for 12 years, including a stint in Australia.

He says working for a corporate farmer like Landcorp has its benefits. “Landcorp provides a good training programme and has given me opportunities to develop and grow; they have also bought into my vision. My return to them has been to meet production targets.”

He is interested in an equity management position in the future, or a farm business manager position.

The second-place getter in the 2009 Auckland Hauraki Farm Manager of the Year, Paul Mahoney, also works for Landcorp at Ngatea – on a 274ha farm milking 670 cows. He won $4700 in cash and prizes. Hikuai farm manager Lesley Shaw placed third, winning $3700 in cash and prizes.

Dairy Trainee of the Year, Ben Rohrlach, is a herd manager for last year’s Auckland Hauraki Sharemilkers of the Year Ciaran and Sarah Tully at Ngatea.

Mr Rohrlach, 26, is new to the industry, having previously been a personal trainer for Les Mills in Auckland. He says he enjoys being able to make a difference in aspects of the farm operation.

“My wife and I decided to go dairying to provide a more prosperous future for our family. The opportunities and growth within the dairy industry matched the skills and vision that we believe in – like growing up in rural New Zealand will provide the best start in life for our children.”

He is currently studying towards a National Certificate in Agriculture and has a goal to own a large herd within five years.

Auckland Hauraki Sharemilkers of the Year Gavin and Sally Roden will host a field day on Wednesday March 25, while Auckland Hauraki Farm Manager of the Year James Haldane will host a field day on the Ngatea farm he manages on Wednesday April 1. Further details on the winners and field days can be found on www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz.

Sharemilker Merit Awards:

  • Honda ATV Safety Award – Mathew & Jemma Morrissey
  • Nick Hoogeveen & Associates Strategic Planning Award – Jacco & Carmen Verheij
  • Corson Grains Pride in the Property Award – Daniel Bishop & Christine Phillips
  • DairyNZ First Time Entrant Award – Spencer & Antoinette Langdon
  • Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Steve & Andrea Mills
  • Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) Leadership Award – Jacco & Carmen Verheij
  • LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Gavin & Sally Roden
  • Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – Steve & Andrea Mills
  • Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Gavin & Sally Roden
  • Westpac Business Performance Award – Gavin & Sally Roden

Farm Manager Merit Awards:

  • Harkness Henry Future Aims & Attitude Award – Lesley Shaw
  • DairyNZ Human Resource Management Award – Paul Mahoney
  • RD1 Farm Management Award – Lesley Shaw
  • Westpac Financial Planning and Management Award – Paul Mahoney

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