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Northland Dairy Winners Part Of Prestigious Event

March 26, 2014

Northland Dairy Winners Part Of Prestigious Event

By entering the 2014 Northland Dairy Industry Awards, Lance and Stephanie Oliver thought they would gain insights to improve their farm business operation.

The Kaikohe couple did just that and walked away with the major title – the Northland Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year – and $17,880 in prizes.

The other big winners at the awards dinner held at the Copthorne Hotel, Paihia, last night were Michael and Donna Carroll, the Northland Farm Managers of the Year, and Matthew Snedden, the Northland Dairy Trainee of the Year.

“We entered the awards for the first time as the sharemilker competition is a prestigious competition that we wanted to be a part of,” the Olivers say.

The couple, aged 35 and 31 years, also entered to benchmark their business and analyse and identify areas to improve their operation.

The Olivers 50% sharemilk 445 split-calving cows for John Bayly at Kaikohe. Mr Oliver has a Bachelor of Commerce in Agriculture from Lincoln University and travelled overseas before joining the family dairy farm business in 2005. He is an equity manager in the family farm business that split calves 450 cows with a 400ha drystock unit. The couple established their sharemilking company in 2012.

“The farm owner, manager and us all get along really well and communicate regularly and openly. We are all also passionate about dairy farming and are committed to growing the business.”

The couple’s goals are to consolidate the sharemilking business and to reduce debt so they are well placed to take advantage of expansion opportunities in the next five years.

The runners-up in the Northland Sharemilker/Equity Farmer contest were Okaihau equity sharemilkers Grant and Danielle Petterd, winning $6400 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.

The winners of the 2014 Northland Farm Manager of the Year, Michael and Donna Carroll, are ready to take the next step in the dairy industry.

“We believe that luck is where opportunity meets preparation. We are prepared for the next step in the dairy industry and we are now looking and waiting for that opportunity!”

The Carrolls are aged 29 and 27 years, and contract milk 190 cows for Greig and Paula Powell at Poroti, near Whangarei.

The couple, who won $9240 in prizes, has been in the dairy industry five years and plan to progress to 50% sharemilking by June 2015.

Their relationship with the farm owner is strong. “Having a good relationship with the farm owners through open, clear and regular communication and monthly farm meetings allows us all to achieve our goals for the farm.

“Mike also has a passion on managing feed and his use of plate metering and feed budgeting helps the cows and the farm get through the trying seasons and split calving.”

It was the third time the Carrolls had entered the awards. “Entering has allowed us to step outside our comfort zone and challenge us as to how well we know our business and to assess if we were really achieving the maximum potential from the farm,” they said.

Second place in the farm manager contest went to Whangarei farm manager Luke Boylan, who won $3250 in prizes. Dargaville farm manager Karla Frost placed third, winning $2750.

The 2014 Northland Dairy Trainee of the Year, Matthew Snedden, entered the awards for the first time to gain feedback on his level of ability. The modest 20-year-old went on to win $6170 in prizes.

Mr Snedden is second-in-charge on Peter and Christopher Thorpe’s Kerikeri farm milking 520 cows and has the goal of farm ownership.

Wellsford assistant William Lumbus placed second in the dairy trainee contest, winning $1200 in prizes, and Whangarei herd manager Lui Peti was third, winning $800.

Northland Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, Lance and Stephanie Oliver, will host a field day on April 16, while Farm Managers of the Year, Michael and Donna Carroll, will host a field day on the Whangarei farm they manage on April 9. Further details on the winners and field days can be found

Sharemilker/Equity Farmer Merit Awards:
• DairyNZ Human Resources Award – Lance & Stephanie Oliver
• Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Nick & Cherie Bishop
• Federated Farmers of New Zealand Leadership Award – Lance & Stephanie Oliver
• Honda Farm Safety and Health Award – Lance & Stephanie Oliver
• LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Lance & Stephanie Oliver
• Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – Lance & Stephanie Oliver
• Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Grant & Danielle Petterd
• Triplejump Risk Management Award – Nick & Cherie Bishop
• Westpac Business Performance Award – Lance & Stephanie Oliver

Farm Manager Merit Awards:
• Bell Booth Livestock Award – Karla Frost
• Northland Regional Council Leadership Award – Michael & Donna Carroll
• Fonterra Best Practice Award – Durin Blakeborough
• Primary ITO Human Resource Management Award – Shane Cooper
• RD1 Farm Management Award – Luke Boylan
• Westpac Financial Planning and Management Award – Michael & Donna Carroll

Dairy Trainee Merit Awards:
• Cervus Equipment Farming Knowledge Award - Matthew Snedden
• Webb Ross McNab Kilpatrick Leadership Award – Grace Woolnough
• DairyNZ Practical Skills Award – Mike Jensen


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