2009-03-26

WEST COAST DAIRY WINNERS AT WILDFOODS

The 2009 West Coast Top of the South Sharemilkers of the Year Walter Hwata and Olga Mashazhike ran a stall at the recent Wildfoods Festival to support the Kumara School and the less privileged in Zimbabwe.

The couple, who 21% sharemilk 680 cows near Kumara, are also active in the local community. Walter Hwata is an Agriculture ITO assessor and member of the Dairy Action Team while Olga Mashazhike is a member of the Kumara Community Club and Women in Dairying.

They won $10,000 in cash and prizes for their competition win, after entering for a second time to keep them focused on their goals and to network.

“The competition has helped us scrutinise our business in-depth, it has kept us focused on our goals and it has boosted our overall confidence.

“We also thought the feedback we got from the judges was very beneficial.”

The couple say a strength of their business is its low debt level combined with strong cash flows. “This has helped us consolidate our business as we work towards achieving our goals.”

They have already achieved their first goal – to win the competition. Other goals are to achieve milk production of 235,000kg milksolids this season ending May 31 and to own their own herd.

Second place in the West Coast Top of the South Sharemilker of the Year competition went to Murchison 30% sharemilkers Chris and Donna Murphy. They won $7000 in cash and prizes. Kaikoura 50% sharemilkers John and Johanna O’Callaghan placed third, winning $2750 in cash and prizes.

The 2009 West Coast Top of the South Farm Manager of the Year winner, Shane Kelly, and 2009 West Coast Top of the South Dairy Trainee of the Year, Jamie Knight, were also announced at the awards dinner held at Shantytown 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.

The New Zealand 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 West Coast Top of the South Farm Manager of the Year Shane Kelly says he entered the competition for the third time to assess his dairy career goals, network and have some fun.

“A big benefit of entering is the chance to step back and have a good look at where I want to be in the future and put plans in place to achieve goals. It’s also a great excuse to have a good night out.”

Mr Kelly is managing a 400ha Landcorp farm milking 1140 cows at Dobson, near Greymouth. He won $5000 in cash and prizes.

“Working for a corporate like Landcorp has some strengths, particularly in training and upskilling its staff. It’s allowed me to pursue opportunities that I may not have had elsewhere.”

His future goals are to stay with Landcorp but move into a business manager position, overseeing a number of properties before entering an equity partnership.

Springs Junction farm managers Sarel and Sonja Jacobs placed second in the West Coast Top of the South Farm Manager of the Year competition, winning $3000 in cash and prizes. They oversee a 315ha farm milking 725 cows for West Coast Dairy. Havelock farm manager Maria Carlson, originally from Sweden, placed third winning $2000 in cash and prizes.

West Coast Top of the South Dairy Trainee of the Year Jamie Knight, 21, is an assistant manager on a 400-cow Golden Bay farm owned by Bernal Reily.

“The farm size allows me to gain a diverse range of skills and qualities. I also have the ability to change systems that have been put into place previously, which is great as I like to see what changes I can make to help the farm run better.”

Mr Knight would like to move into farm management and eventually become a lower order sharemilker. He won $2420.

West Coast Top of the South Sharemilkers of the Year Walter Hwata and Olga Mashazhike will host a field day on Tuesday April 21, while West Coast Top of the South Farm Manager of the Year Shane Kelly will host a field day on the Lake Brunner farm he manages on Thursday April 23. Further details on the winners and field days can be found on www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz.

Sharemilker Merit Awards:

  • Kinzett Livestock Ltd Farm Pride & Presentation Award – Chris & Donna Murphy
  • Honda ATV Safety Award – Doug Butcher & Caroline Newick
  • DairyNZ First Time Entrant Award – Chris & Donna Murphy
  • Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Walter Hwata & Olga Mashazhike
  • Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) Leadership Award – Walter Hwata & Olga Mashazhike
  • LIC Recording and Productivity Award – John & Johanna O’Callaghan
  • Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – Chris & Donna Murphy

· Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Chris & Donna Murphy

· Westpac Business Performance Award – Walter Hwata & Olga Mashazhike

Farm Manager Merit Awards:

  • Gordon Handy Ltd Farm Pride & Presentation Award – Sarel & Sonja Jacobs
  • DairyNZ Human Resource Management Award – Gordon & Rabecca Storer
  • RD1 Farm Management Award – Maria Carlson
  • Westpac Financial and Planning Award – Shane Kelly

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