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First-Time Entrants Win Canterbury Sharemilking

First-Time Entrants Win Canterbury Sharemilking Prize

Entering the Canterbury Sharemilker of the Year competition for the first time has proved a rewarding experience for Brian and Judy Symes.

Not only did the Symes win, taking home prizes worth $10,000, but they also achieved what they set out from entering - to learn something.

The Symes were announced the winners at Hotel Ashburton last night (20 March), where they also collected the Dairy InSight and Ravensdown merit awards for best First Time Entrant and Pasture Management.

They are currently in their second season 50:50 sharemilking 700 cows through a 40-bale rotary dairy on 191 effective hectares for Dairy Farm Holdings Limited at Dorie, Mid Canterbury. The farm, called Mossburn Holdings, is producing 1400kg milksolids per hectare, or 400kg milksolids per cow and is spray irrigated.

They previously spent two seasons 50:50 sharemilking 550 cows for Tasman Agriculture at Culverden. They have owned a pig farm and have a cropping background, both having parents involved in the cropping industry.

"We entered the competition to learn and for the challenge it provides. It's a great chance for us to meet other sharemilkers and exchange ideas," the Symes say. "We've also heard of the advantages associated with the competition in advancing your career."

Their future goals are farm ownership and to spend quality time with family and friends. They are involved in social tennis, golf, children's preschool, the Epilepsy Association and Plunket.

They will now progress to the New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year final, held in association with Federated Farmers of New Zealand Inc in Auckland on May 3, where they will compete for a total prize pool worth more than $60,000.

The competition is sponsored by ACC, Blue Wing Honda, Bank of New Zealand, Fonterra, Livestock Improvement, Ravensdown, Ecolab, RD1, Dairy InSight and Dexcel.

Second place in the Canterbury Sharemilker of the Year went to Graeme Wall and Shelley Singer, who milk 680 cows on 199 effective hectares at Ashburton for Andy and Tricia MacFarlane. The couple also won the Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene and Livestock Improvement Best Herd Records merit awards.

Third place went to Ad and Anita Hendriks, milking 1110 cows on 330 hectares at Culverden for Pahau and Kea Farms Ltd. The Hendriks also won the Federated Farmers of New Zealand Inc Leadership merit award. Other Merit Award Recipients: * Blue Wing Honda ATV Safety award - David and Shirlene Cochrane * ACC Thinksafe Farm Safety award - David and Shirlene Cochrane * Bank of New Zealand Financial Management award - Tom and Fiona Ward

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