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Westport Sharemilkers Take Out Title

Westport Sharemilkers Take Out Title

Westport sharemilkers John and Jo-Anne Milne have been declared 2005 Top of the South/West Coast Sharemilkers of the Year at an awards function at Shantytown in Greymouth tonight.

John and Jo-Anne milk 230 cows on a 90-hectare property in Westport with production of 80,000kg/ms. The farm is owned by Margaret and David Milne.

The couple were first time entrants in the awards, attracted by a simplification in this year’s entry process that has also resulted in a record number of first time entrants around New Zealand.

John has been in the dairy industry 18 years, starting as a farm cadet as a 15-year-old, moving to assistant herd manager of 500 cows, before becoming sole manager of a 110-cow farm at the age of 18. In 1993/94, a family partnership was formed with his parents to convert the farm where he and Jo-Anne now work in a 50:50 sharemilking arrangement.

Jo-Anne, by contrast, describes herself as originally a “townie”; and was a shop assistant for five years before joining the family partnership. She is now a calf rearer and relief milker.

The Milnes, both 33 years old, believe part of their success lies in “getting the basics right. This makes the day-to-day running of the business more successful and enjoyable.”

The Milnes also won the Dairy InSight First Time Entrant Award, the Young Stock Award, the Westland Milk Products Supplier Excellence Award, The Bank of New Zealand Financial Management Award, and the Livestock Improvement Best Herd Records Award.

The Milnes now go forward to represent the region at the New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year Awards in Hamilton on May 7, competing for a national prize pool of $63,000.

Runners up in the event were Andrew and Jody Shaw from Whataroa, with third place going to Maruia sharemilkers Fiona and Thomas Ward.

The 2005 New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year Competition is run in association with Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) and sponsored by Dairy InSight, ACC, Bank of New Zealand, Blue Wing Honda, Dexcel, Ecolab, Fonterra, Livestock Improvement and Ravensdown.

Regional convenors Peter and Debbie Langford, who won the regional title last year, congratulated all entrants on taking part. “Having been involved ourselves we know they will have benefited from the experience. We wish them all well and will be cheering on the Milnes in Hamilton in May,” Peter Langford says.

A field day will be held on the Milnes’ property, 193 Victoria Road, Westport, Supply Number 773, on Friday April 15.

Other results were:

• Lower Order Sharemilker: Andrew and Jody Shaw (Whataroa)

• Farm Pride: Biem and Averil Vlaming (Rockville – Golden Bay)

• Business Communication: Ronald and Karen Miedema (Karamea)

• Ravensdown Pasture Management Award: Andrew and Jody Shaw (Whataroa)

• Ecolab Farm Dairy Environment Award: Biem and Averil Vlaming (Rockville – Golden Bay)

• Federated Farmers Leadership Award: Fiona and Thomas Ward (Maruia)

• Blue Wing Honda ATV Safety Award: Ronald and Karen Miedema (Karamea)

• ACC Thinksafe Sharemilker Award: Ronald and Karen Miedema (Karamea).

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