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Novice Sharemilkers Win In West Coast

Under Embargo Until

10pm, 29 March


Novice Sharemilkers Win In West Coast

In their first full season sharemilking, Hokitika sharemilkers Tane Little and Rachel Williams have walked away with the 2008 West Coast Top of the South Sharemilker of the Year title.

“We thought we were running a sound operation and the competition gave us the opportunity to showcase that. It also gave us an opportunity to check ourselves and analyse our business.”

The couple, who are 50% sharemilkers on a 95ha family farm at Kowhitirangi, near Hokitika, milking 225 cows, won $11,255 in cash and prizes. They are anticipating milk production of 82,000kg milksolids this season, ending May 31.

Tane Little has been in the farming sector for 10 years, slowly progressing through the industry. He has worked on the family farm since 2000 as manager before the couple bought the herd and began sharemilking in November 2006.

Rachel Williams moved to the West Coast in 2004 and worked at Westland Milk Products to gain a good introduction to the dairy industry.

“Two strengths of our business are our ability to monitor costs throughout the year that make sure we stay within budget to achieve our financial targets and we have a good herd that converts grass into milk efficiently, thus giving good returns.”


The couple’s goal is to own their own farm by growing equity through both on-farm and off-farm investment.

The Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, DairyNZ, Fonterra, RD1, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, and Blue Wing Honda, along with industry partner Agriculture ITO.

The 2008 West Coast Top of the South Farm Manager of the Year winner, Peter and Helen McLaren, and 2008 West Coast Top of the South Dairy Trainee of the Year, Tristan Wastney, were also announced at the awards dinner held at Shantytown 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 Christchurch on May 24.

The farm manager winners, Peter and Helen McLaren, are managing a large herd of 1400 cows on a 450ha property at Murchison owned by Dairy Holdings.

It was the first time they had entered the contest, winning $6600 in cash and prizes. “We decided it would help us grow our business.”

After being in the industry just under 10 years they say farm owners, Dairy Holdings, offer excellent opportunities and support.

“Dairy Holdings is a well structured company and offers good support and direction for their managers and staff. As they are an expanding company there are also many employment opportunities within the company.

“We enjoy the challenge of managing large farms and training and leading staff, and take pride in watching them grow within the dairy industry.”

The McLaren’s plan to increase production on the Murchison property to 400,000kg milksolids in the coming season and in 2009 take on a 50% sharemilking position while continuing to manage for Dairy Holdings.

Greymouth farm manager Shane Kelly placed second in the 2008 West Coast Top of the South Farm Manager of the Year award, winning $3850.


Nelson farm manager Tristan Wastney, aged 25, won the 2008 West Coast Top of the South Dairy Trainee of the Year award and a $3000 prize package.


Mr Wastney is managing a 500-cow herd on an 186ha Nelson farm owned by Phil and Jocelyn Riley.


He says his National Certificate in Agriculture obtained under the Agriculture ITO has given him confidence in his decision-making and enabled him to closely monitor animal condition and pasture quality to increase milk production.


He hopes to begin lower order sharemilking on the property in the coming season and with his fiancée, Sylvia, be 50% sharemilking within five years.


“We are going to wait for the high dairy cow prices to drop a bit before investing in our own herd.”


West Coast Top of the South Sharemilkers of the Year Tane Little and Rachel Williams will host a field day on Tuesday April 15, while West Coast Top of the South Farm Manager of the Year Peter and Helen McLaren will host a field day on the Murchison farm they manage on Thursday April 17. Further details on the winners and field days can be found on www.dairyindustryawards.conz.


Sharemilker Merit Awards:

Essential Nutrition Farm Pride & Presentation Award – Richard & Sandy Beaumont
Blue Wing Honda ATV Safety Award – Walter Hwata & Olga Mashazhike
DairyNZ First Time Entrant Award – Walter Hwata & Olga Mashazhika
Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Walter Hwata & Olga Mashazhike
Federated Farmers Leadership Award – Tane Little & Rachel Williams
LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Doug Butcher & Caroline Newick
Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – Tane Little & Rachel Williams
Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Richard & Sandy Beaumont
Westpac Business Performance Award – Tane Little & Rachel Williams

Farm Manager Merit Awards:

Westland Milk Products Farm Pride & Presentation Award – Shane Kelly
DairyNZ Human Resource Management Award – Peter & Helen McLaren
RD1 Farm Management Award – Peter & Helen McLaren
Westpac Financial and Planning Award – Shane Kelly



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