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Ohaupo Couple Win Regional Farmer Of The Year

Clear Vision And Clever Feeding Plan Wins Ohaupo Couple Regional Farmer Of The Year Title

Ohaupo farmers Paul and Sue Bardoul are the North West Waikato winners in the inaugural Westpac Trust NZMP Farmer of the Year 2002 competition.

Their win was announced on Saturday April 20 at the North West Waikato regional awards dinner in Hamilton. Paul and Sue will compete for the national title in Hamilton on June 29.

In accepting the award Paul Bardoul said his wife Sue and the team had encouraged him to enter the award and the success was a combined team effort.

"My wife Sue is a constant evaluator and my greatest supporter. Without her this win would not have been possible."

"In running a successful business we have surrounded ourselves with supportive and knowledgeable people. A team of skilled resources such as our banker, fertiliser rep and many of the consultants represented in the line up of award sponsors all play a vital role in the business. With their support we have been able to test ideas and grow our business.

"This award is recognition that we have a fine tuned operation. In moving forward we hope that our enterprise is something that other farmers can critique and all learn from."

Paul and Sue will be holding a field day on their property on Friday, May 17. This will be an opportunity for the public to visit their farm and evaluate their operation up close, meet the sponsors and other people who make the award happen.

Farmer of the Year judges praised the Bardouls' clear business direction and strong business plan which have led the pair to dramatically shift their farming style over the years.

Paul and Sue's original business goal was to grow their business by expansion - through buying more cows and land. Their original farm was 62 hectares which had all been planted in flax by the previous owners. The Bardouls converted it and later bought a 30 hectare block followed by a 42 hectare apple orchard which they converted to bring their total effective dairy farming area up to 125 hectares. Their herd size increased to a high point of 530 cows in 1997.

But after several years of this approach Paul and Sue decided there was a better way to move forward. They believed their system was negatively influenced by climatic variations - particularly the impact on cow health and welfare.

They decided to change their focus to improve total productivity by improving results per cow. Instead of using maize silage as the only supplement, they started feeding cows to their requirements with the aim of improving animal health, output and productivity.

Since that time the Bardouls have gradually reduced their herd size to 400 while increasing their total farm productivity. The key to their success has been that focus on animal health – growing and feeding high quality forages and by-products and using mineral supplementation to complement grazed grass.

This highly tuned feeding operation was applauded by the WestpacTrust NZMP Farmer of the Year judges who also praised the high standards of improvement and development on the farm.

The Bardouls, who were married in 1992, have five children aged from a newborn baby to eight years. The newest member of the Bardoul family is a baby girl by the name of Annelies. Sue is a veterinarian who has worked in clinical practice both in New Zealand and Britain and is currently using her skills in the farming business. Paul completed a Diploma in Agriculture in 1980 and has a keen interest in cattle nutrition, as an associate of a Te Awamutu based company which provides advice on all aspects of diary cattle nutrition and management.

The runners-up to the North West Waikato Regional Winners are Peter Morgan and Ann Bouma of Te Awamutu.

"The regional finalists represent a group of farmers who have achieved excellence in all areas of their businesses. The awards process demonstrates that excellence and enables the cream of the crop to share the information with other dairy farmers," says Tony Bradley, WestpacTrust head of Agribusiness in the North Island.

"It is farmers such as the award finalists and winners who promote a positive profile for the dairy industry in New Zealand and help other farmers improve their productivity as well driving the industry to meet the 4 per cent target."

Several Farmer of the Year Performance awards were also announced at Wednesday's dinner. These included:
Ballance Agri-Nutrients Dairy Management Award: Mark and Judy Shaw of Ohaupo
Dexcel Human Resources Award: Greg and Gerry Glover, Koromatua.
Ecolab Product Excellence Award: Christine and Tom Krippner with sharemilkers Karen and David Camp of Te Awamutu
Pioneer Brand Forage Products Business Performance Award: Peter Morgan and Ann Bouma of Te Awamutu

The Westpac Trust NZMP Farmer of the Year 2002 is a premier award that attracts and recognises New Zealand's very best dairy farmers.

"Our farmers are world leaders in on-farm productivity and this, along with our quality focus, gives us a competitive edge in the marketplace," says award chairman and Fonterra director Gerard Lynch. "This competition is about recognising the cream of the crop, and sharing their expertise across our industry."

ends

Issued by Pead PR on behalf WestpacTrust NZMP Farmer of the Year.


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