It wasn’t third, fourth or even fifth time lucky for the 2009 Bay of Plenty Sharemilkers of the Year John and Kim Wakefield – it was the sixth time the couple had entered the competition.

“We have kept entering as we think it’s a great way to benchmark ourselves against others, it provides good exposure for advancing in the dairy industry and we meet new like-minded people.”

The couple is currently 50% sharemilking 360 cows on 105ha for Georgy Angland at Awakeri, near Whakatane. They won $15,200 in cash and prizes.

“A strength of our business is that we have a good understanding of our financials through forecasting, monitoring and updating our records. We also utilise the resources and professionals involved in our business.”

The Wakefield’s have been in the industry for 20 years. John joined as a school leaver and progressed from a cadet through farm management and lower order sharemilking to 50% sharemilking. Their goals are to increase equity so they can purchase their own farm with sufficient size to employ staff to undertake the farm’s day-to-day operations.

Whakatane 50% sharemilkers Jon and Steph Russell placed second in the 2009 Bay of Plenty Sharemilker of the Year competition, winning $6100 in cash and prizes. Pongakawa sharemilkers Scott and Charlotte Jones placed third, winning $3800 in cash and prizes.

The 2009 Bay of Plenty Farm Manager of the Year winner, Phil Moeke, and 2009 Bay of Plenty Dairy Trainee of the Year, Mark Nicholas, were also announced at the awards dinner held at the Te Puke Citizens Club 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 Bay of Plenty Farm Manager of the Year Phil Moeke spent 22 years in the refrigeration industry specialising in farm milk vats before changing career in 2005 to become a farm assistant.

“I am really passionate about what the dairy industry can offer people with no experience – in a relatively short time you can be well on the way to achieving your goals.”

Mr Moeke is currently managing a 270ha farm milking 1000 cows at Edgecumbe for the Gow Family Trust. He received $4900 in cash and prizes for his win.

He says the size of the job allows for great learning opportunities in regards to farm and staff management. “There is also a great culture created by the Trust to encourage personal development, training and inclusiveness of families.

“My future farming goals are to have a sharemilking business in June 2010 and to be out of the shed by 2013.”

Whakatane farm manager Aaron Johnston placed second, winning $2500, and Warren and Jo Lee, also Whakatane farm managers, placed third winning $1250.

Bay of Plenty Dairy Trainee of the Year, Mark Nicholas, 32, has made quick progress since entering the dairy industry less than two years ago. Already he has secured a sharemilking position with a herd of 280 cows at Tokoroa from June.

Currently he is an assistant farm manager on a 140ha Whakatane farm milking 500 cows for Mike Mexted.

“I enjoy being in a position where I can offer ideas and then implement them, even though I am new to the industry. I have a great relationship with the farm owner, manager and farm consultant where we can all sit down and talk about farm related issues.”

Mr Nicholas says achieving his National Certificate in Agriculture through Agriculture ITO had helped him secure his sharemilking position and set him up both financially and in his dairy career. He won $2420 in cash and prizes.

There was a high calibre of dairy trainee entries, so the judges highly commended trainees Jamie Burt and Adam Coley.

Bay of Plenty Sharemilkers of the Year John and Kim Wakefield will host a field day on Thursday March 26, while Bay of Plenty Farm Manager of the Year Phil Moeke will host a field day on the Edgecumbe farm he manages on Friday April 3. Further details on the winners and field days can be found on www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz.

Sharemilker Merit Awards:

  • Blackman Spargo Legal Audit Award – Andrew & Robyn McLeod
  • Honda ATV Safety Award – John and Kim Wakefield
  • DairyNZ First Time Entrant Award – Jon & Steph Russell
  • Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – John & Andrea Winmill
  • Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) Leadership Award – John & Andrea Winmill
  • LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Jon & Steph Russell
  • Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – John & Kim Wakefield
  • Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – John & Kim Wakefield
  • Westpac Business Performance Award – John & Kim Wakefield

Farm Manager Merit Awards:

  • DairyNZ Human Resource Management Award – Phil Moeke
  • RD1 Farm Management Award – Aaron Johnston
  • Westpac Financial and Planning Award – Phil & Nicki Vallance

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