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Dairy Industry Winners Focused On Debt Reduction

Dairy Industry Winners Focused On Debt Reduction

The winners of the 2014 West Coast Top of the South Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year competition, Chris and Carla Staples, are focused on reducing debt and increasing equity.

The couple, who won $11,300 in prizes, are positioning themselves to take the next step to farm ownership.

The other major winners at the 2014 West Coast Top of the South Dairy Industry Awards were Jason Macbeth, the region’s Farm Manager of the Year, and Amy White, winner of the Dairy Trainee of the Year title. They were announced winners at an awards dinner at Shantytown last night .

Chris and Carla Staples were the runners-up in last year’s sharemilker/equity farmer contest and have used the judges’ feedback to their advantage by improving their business and farming systems.

“We found entering the awards provided a great opportunity to take an in-depth look into our business, as well as being able to benchmark ourselves against others in our region.”

The Staples are 50% sharemilking 365 cows at Whataroa for farm owners Keith and Angela Kelly.

They say their profitability and great working relationships are keys to their success. “We are aware of our financial position at all times and we are constantly reviewing our budgets with our actuals to produce consistent farm working expenses.

“Our short term goal is to increase production while maintaining good profitability on our current farm.” The couple’s long term goal is farm ownership.

Greymouth equity farm managers Kelvin and Heather McKay were runners-up in the competition, winning $3700 in prizes.
The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda Motorcycles NZ, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown, RD1 and Triplejump, along with industry partner Primary ITO (formerly AgITO).
West Coast Top of the South Farm Manager of the Year, Jason Macbeth, wants to prove that West Coast farms can perform well against other top farms around the country.

The 23-year-old won $8750 and is contract milking 280 cows for Bruce and Jocelyn Palmer at Murchison.

“We are very low cost farming with minimal inputs, which I believe you must be in today’s times. We are focused on quantity and quality when it comes to feeding our cows and it pays off in production.”

Mr Macbeth is moving to a 25% sharemilking position in June and aims to be 50% sharemilking 300 cows in 2017 with his partner, Beth Phillips.

Second place in the farm manager contest went to Landcorp farm manager Hayden George, aged 30 years, who won $3900, and third went to Takaka farm manager Alice Reilly, 26, who won $2850. Miss Reilly’s partner, Stewart Watson, was a finalist in the trainee contest and won the leadership merit award.

Twenty-year-old Murchison farm assistant Amy White is the 2014 West Coast Top of the South Dairy Trainee of the Year.

Miss White, who won $5000, entered the awards for the first time to “give it a go” and “it might lead to something”.

It is her second season in the industry and she is currently assisting on Stephen Todd’s 353-cow Murchison farm.

Her ultimate farming goal is to own a farm milking 400 pedigree Holstein and Ayrshire cattle. “Until then my aim is to learn as much as I can about animal health and management so I can become a herd manager within five years, then go contract or lower order sharemilking to start my own herd and work my way from 50:50 to farm ownership.”

Second in the West Coast Top of the South Dairy Trainee of the Year contest was Dobson assistant dairy production manager Joseph McNaull, aged 24 years, who won $3000. Third was Rai Valley, Marlborough, 2IC Bridgette Payton, who won $2000.

West Coast Top of the South Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, Chris and Carla Staples, will host a field day on April 3, while Farm Manager of the Year, Jason Macbeth, will host a field day on the Murchison farm he manages on March 27. Further details on the winners and field days can be found on


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