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Manawatu Dairy Awards Winners Raise Reputation

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11pm, March 12

Manawatu Dairy Awards Winners Raise Reputation

The major winners in the 2014 Manawatu Dairy Industry Awards, Duncan and Kim Fraser, have become role models in the industry after raising their profile from entering the awards.

The couple won the 2014 Manawatu Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year title last night “One of the benefits of the awards is that it does raise your profile in the industry and so opportunities are now coming to us. People are also now coming to us to seek advice,” the Frasers say.

The other big winners at the region’s awards dinner held at the Awapuni Raceway were Sam Ebbett, the Manawatu Farm Manager of the Year, and Hayley Hoogendyk, the 2014 Manawatu Dairy Trainee of the Year.

Duncan and Kim Fraser are 22% sharemilking 440 cows at Feilding for Des and Marion Webb. They operate a low cost system and are targeting production of 200,000kg milksolids this season. “Low cost does provide excellent returns if you are willing to put the effort in, as costs are not that variable from year to year.”

Aged 38 and 32 years, the couple aim to maintain a desirable work and life balance. They plan to grow their business through wise investment in opportunities to achieve their ultimate goal of retirement by 2035. “The awards have put us in contact with people that can help grow our business.”

Another goal of theirs is to be a role model in the industry, by achieving industry key performance indicators around farm management.

The runner-up in the sharemilker/equity farmer contest was Sanson equity farm manager Aaron Taylor, who won $8900. Third went to Ashhurst 21% sharemilkers Ben and Lizzie Ash, winning $7400 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).

There will be big celebrations on the Feilding farm leased by Te Paratai Farms, an equity partnership employing Sam Ebbett as its farm manager and Hayley Hoogendyk as its assistant. Mr Ebbett and Miss Hoogendyk won the region’s 2014 farm manager and dairy trainee titles.

Mr Ebbett – who has entered the dairy trainee contest previously – introduced Miss Hoogendyk to the awards and has been a source of help and insight. “Sam is never short of questions or offers of help due to my constant pursuit of knowledge and desire to continue in dairying,” Miss Hoogendyk says.

Aged 24 years, Mr Ebbett says the awards had enabled him to network with industry professionals and other farmers, as well as detail his strengths and weaknesses within the business. “They gave me areas which I could focus on.

“My strengths are in animal husbandry, as I have a really deep connection with my herd and understand the importance of them, and pasture management. It’s something I really enjoy doing and monitoring.”

He won $10,750 in prizes. He has been in the industry five years and aims to be 50% sharemilking by 2019.

Miss Hoogendyk, who won $5700 in prizes, completed a Bachelor of Business Studies at Massey University and worked in event management before choosing to switch careers to dairy farming.

“I stepped outside my comfort zone and tried my hand at relief milking on a 450 cow farm. After showing my ability to learn fast and adapt to new situations I was offered a fulltime job within the week. I went from a 40 hour per week office job to a 70 hour per week slog at the height of calving, but I was absolutely hooked.”

Aged 25, she says her current farm position – a small farm with adequate staff – allows her time to study and she plans to complete Primary ITO Level 5 Production and Effluent Management courses in the coming year.

“My expectation is to also grow my current dairy herd of five cows by 10 cows each season. This will allow me to gain equity and financial independence while not risking my business model with large loans or unmanageable overheads in the event of drought or a poor season.”

Miss Hoogendyk plans to progress in the industry to be 50% sharemilking by 2022. “This will put me in a position where I can explore cutting edge dairy concepts and be part of the future growth of dairy farming in New Zealand.”

Second place in the 2014 Manawatu Farm Manager of the Year competition went to Palmerston North farm manager Jagath Kukule Kankanamge, who won $5750. Longburn contract milker Jarrod Greenwood was third, winning $4050 in prizes.

The 2013 Manawatu Dairy Trainee of the Year runner-up is Opiki farm assistant Blake Moore, who won $3200 in prizes, and third place went to Longburn farm assistant Paul Mercer, winning $900.

Manawatu Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, Duncan and Kim Fraser, will host a field day on March 26, while Farm Manager of the Year, Sam Ebbett, will host a field day on the Feilding farm he manages on April 1. Further details on the winners and field days can be found on

Sharemilker/Equity Farmer Merit Awards:

• Naylor Lawrence and Associates Strategic Planning Award – Aaron Taylor

• DairyNZ Human Resources Award – Ben & Lizzie Ash

• Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Duncan & Kim Fraser

• Federated Farmers of New Zealand Leadership Award – Aaron Taylor

• Honda Farm Safety and Health Award – Ben & Lizzie Ash

• LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Mat Hocken

• Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – Ben & Lizzie Ash

• Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Duncan & Kim Fraser

• Triplejump Risk Management Award – Brendan & Lisa Sharland

• Westpac Business Performance Award – Duncan & Kim Fraser

Farm Manager Merit Awards:

• Bell Booth Best Livestock Award - Jagath Kukule Kankanamge

• MacDougalls Leadership Award – Sam Ebbett

• Fonterra Best Practice Award – Sam Ebbett

• Primary ITO Human Resource Management Award – Quentin & Stephanie Bruntlett

• RD1 Farm Management Award – Jagath Kukule Kankanamge

• Westpac Financial Planning and Management Award – Jarrod Greenwood

Dairy Trainee Merit Awards:

• Horizons Regional Council Farming Knowledge Award – Blake Moore

• Massey Agriculture Leadership Award – Guy Harvey

• DairyNZ Practical Skills Award – Blake Moore

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