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Winners’ X-Factor Shines In Dairy Awards

Winners’ X-Factor Shines In Dairy Awards

All three winners in the 2010 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards have the ‘x-factor’ that will ensure their success in the dairy industry.

The winners of the 2010 New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year, Stefan and Annalize du Plessis, the 2010 New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year, Carwyn Monteith, and the 2010 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year, Blake Korteweg, were announced at the national awards dinner at the Energy Events Centre in Rotorua last night.

Thirty-six finalists representing 12 regions across the country competed in the final, and represented the best from more than 500 entries received in the three 2010 awards competitions.

Sharemilker head judge Johanna Deutz Ebeling says it was Stefan and Annalize du Plessis’ x-factor and infectious personality – as well as their achievements on farm – that helped them to claim the title.

“They came from South Africa with nothing and have made a real go of being in the dairy industry and giving back to the dairy industry. They would help people out and people would help them back. They have got that x-factor.”

As well as 50% sharemilking 650 cows on a 240ha Dipton farm owned by Mosa Farming Ltd, a company formed by Owen and Margaret Westlake of Winton and the du Plessis’, Annalize du Plessis runs a recruitment business and, with a friend, has set up a cleaning business.

The du Plessis have a strong relationship with their farm owners, with a short term goal to increase their stake in Mosa Farming from 40% to 100%.

Miss Deutz Ebeling says the couple’s pasture management was a standout. “They made it easy for the judges to understand and they used feed supply and demand graphs to explain when every bit of feed goes in and when decisions are made.

“They involve all staff in their farm walks, which is a great way to up-skill staff. Stefan and Annalize showed right through their presentation the importance of their staff to their business and how they are trained and inducted.”

The du Plessis won $39,300 in cash and prizes.

Second place in the 2010 New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year contest went to Jeremy and Rebecca Duckmanton, who won $20,000 in cash and prizes.

The Duckmanton’s are using their 19% sharemilking position milking 1200 cows near Ashburton to build equity. Their goal has been to increase their equity from $350,000 in 2009 to more than $1 million by 2013.

“They will do it before that,” Miss Deutz Ebeling says. “This just shows sharemilking does enable you to increase your equity at such a rapid rate, especially when you get into a large herd situation. It is still the best place for young people to be if they want to buy their own farm.”

Taranaki sharemilkers Greg and Hannah Topless placed third, winning $17,000 in cash and prizes. They have been 50% sharemilking 280 cows on a 96ha farm at Toko, and will move onto their first farm next month.

“Greg and Hannah have a huge passion for their stock and have lifted their herd’s reproductive performance, genetic gain and somatic cell count levels and are now getting top production on quite a challenging farm.”

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

The 2010 New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year, Carwyn (Monty) Monteith, aged 38, won $18,400 in cash and prizes, and came out on top in an extremely close competition.

Head judge David Whillans says there was a strong field of finalists demonstrating a high level of excellence on farms.

“There are a lot of young people that have got into the dairy industry from other industries who are doing very well and they are really passionate about what they are doing.

“Carwyn has got life skills external to dairy farming, so brings a whole wealth of experience and maturity to his role,” Mr Whillans says. “He displayed a comprehensive knowledge across all areas we judged and this was supported with good processes and documentation. He had an excellent human resources policy, employing on attitude and training on skill.”

Mr Monteith also had good financial processes in place and clear goals on where he and his wife are headed and how they will get there. They have secured a sharemilking position for the new season on the 188ha Takapau farm milking 515 cows that they currently manage.

Ashburton equity managers Hamish and Natalie Davidson placed second in the 2010 Farm Manager of the Year contest, winning $9100 in cash and prizes. The couple is equity farm managing a 440ha farm milking 1500 cows.

“They are real go getters and are really progressive. They are driving themselves to grow their own equity at a significant rate.

“Hamish and Natalie excelled across all areas. They were very good at large herd and financial management and had strong reporting back to their other business owners.”

Third place went to Cambridge contract milker William McKnight, who won $5000 in cash and prizes. “He is working very hard milking 250 cows by himself.”

Judge Kerry Lucas-Candy says the 2010 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year, Blake Korteweg, aged 26, will be a fantastic ambassador for dairy trainees as he is a good communicator and is community minded. He won $8600 in cash and prizes.

Mr Korteweg has been working on a 175ha family farm milking 560 cows near Balclutha, but will begin a contract milking position next month.

“He has quite a bit of life experience for his age having travelled and gained a building apprenticeship, and he is also very competitive,” Mrs Lucas-Candy says.

Second place in the 2010 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year contest went to Andrea Harvey who is on a 145ha farm milking 350 cows near Blenheim. She won $3200.

Rakaia farm assistant Angus Thomas placed third in the competition, winning $2000.

Further details on the winners can be found at


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