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Award Winning Manager Aims For Finest Milk

Award Winning Manager Aims For Finest Milk

The winner of Northland's Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Farm Manager Award aims to produce 1000kg per hectare of finest quality milksolids from healthy cows on an all grass farming system.

Grahame Roberts was awarded the title of best farm manager in Northland and won $2000 in prizes at a function in Whangarei last night. He will now go on to compete against six others for the national farm manager title, which recognises emerging talent in the industry and offers $5000 in prizes in Hamilton on June 27.

Mr Roberts currently manages the Ruawai farm properties of Fonterra Director Greg Gent and his wife Ann Flood. These include a 60ha farm milking 170 cows, an 80ha property milking 200 cows and a 40ha run-off where replacement stock is reared.

He has been in the position since 1999, with he and wife Ann having begun their farming career in 1987. They are saving to invest in a property of their own, while also spending quality time with their three sons.

"I enjoy the responsibility and the challenge of my position and of being given the chance to try new things," Grahame Roberts says. "Having an employer who always listens to what you have to say also helps make this position enjoyable."

He says in aiming to produce 1000kg of finest quality milk, he has been able to improve animal health, reduce the number of inductions, improve the farm's average somatic cell count and tighten the farm's calving pattern.

"One of my goals in the next five years is to spend less time in the dairy and more time concentrating on the production management side of the job, and I think completing my Diploma in Agribusiness Management will help achieve this."

The farm manager award has been introduced to the Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards - which have the support of Dexcel and are sponsored by Fonterra, Westpac, Holden, Pioneer, Ravensdown, RD1, DTS, Livestock Improvement and Fegan and Co - to recognise the important role farm managers play in the industry.

It is anticipated that those who do well in this award will be sought after for dairy farming employment opportunities.

The awards are being run in seven regions, with the winner of each region progressing to the national final in Hamilton. Tickets to any of the regional finals can be purchased by telephoning 0800 273 759 or online at , where more information on the awards is available.

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