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Southland/Otago Dairy Awards Winners

Under Embargo Until 11pm, April 2

Success Helps Southland/Otago Dairy Awards Winners Keep Goals on Track

The major winners in the 2016 Southland/Otago Dairy Industry Awards, Callum and Hanna Stalker, have adapted their business to remain on track to achieve their farming goals.

The couple were announced winners of the region’s Share Farmer of the Year competition at the Southland/Otago Dairy Industry Awards annual awards dinner held at the MLT Events Centre in Gore last night. The other big winners were Wayne Ashmore, who became the 2016 Southland/Otago Dairy Manager of the Year, and Chloe Mackle, the 2016 Southland/Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year.

Callum and Hanna Stalker, aged 32 and 30 years, are 50% sharemilking 680 cows for Ben and Bev Verhoeven at Otautau and won $13,870 in prizes.

Their goal is to continue to build equity through their livestock, and they believe a strength of their operation is their adaptability – especially in the current low milk payout climate.

“We can adapt the business to ensure we are still on track to achieving our goals. Our team of people, including ourselves and our farm team and farm owner, all have complimentary skills and we are all working towards the common goal of running a profitable and sustainable business.”

The Stalkers entered the awards for a second time to analyse their business and benchmark it against others in the industry to gain improvement.

They have been in the industry about six years, with Hanna Stalker also having worked for LIC after obtaining a BSc/BBS Agriculture and Marketing from Massey University.

South Otago lower order sharemilkers Mathew Korteweg and Catherine Tate, aged 28 and 27 years, were runners-up in the Share Farmer competition, winning $8500 in prizes. Thirty-two-year-old Seaward Downs lower order sharemilker, Mike Henderson, was third and won $6000 in prizes.

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

Winning the 2016 Southland/Otago Dairy Manager of the Year competition may be the recognition Wayne Ashmore needs to progress to the next step in his dairy farming career.

Mr Ashmore, who won $8000 in prizes, is currently farm manager for one of Southland’s larger dairy farming operations, Fortuna Group, on their Glenarlea Farm milking 930 cows near Otautau.

He has been with the group for eight years, progressing from herd manager to farm manager and now plans to become one of the group’s farm supervisors, overseeing a few of the group’s farming operations.

“The group has a wealth of knowledge and due to its size we are able to try new things.”

It was the third time Mr Ashmore, aged 31 years, had entered the awards, doing so to step outside his comfort zone and network with other like-minded dairy farmers and rural professionals.

Gore herd manager Ann Linton, aged 24 years, was second in the Dairy Manager competition, winning $5000 in prizes, while 23-year-old Invercargill farm manager Sam Hodsell placed third and won $4000 in prizes.

The 2016 Southland/Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year, Chloe Mackle, has “big dreams” to own farms where she is able to train school leavers, upskill people and provide an enjoyable workplace.

“As a Junior I was very fortunate to have had employers that saw the importance in setting a solid foundation for me to use as a platform in the future. I would love to be able to help develop the same platform for others.”

The 23-year-old has been in the industry since 2012 and is currently herd manager for Abe and Anita De Wolde on their 500-cow property at Heddon Bush. She won $5525 in prizes.

She says the farm has a culture of continuous learning and a focus on people development. “It’s important to grow and develop people.”

It is one of the reasons she is studying heavily through Primary ITO and also why she entered the awards for the first time. “I wanted to rub shoulders with likeminded people and to further my dairying career.”

Runner-up in the Dairy Trainee competition was 23-year-old Gore farm manager Joshua Best, who won $3550 in prizes, and third place went to 22-year-old Winton second-in-charge Hamish Dempsey, winning $1300 in prizes.

The Southland/Otago Dairy Industry Awards winners field day will be held on April 19 on the Otautau farm where Share Farmers of the Year, Callum and Hanna Stalker, sharemilk. Also presenting at the field day will be the region’s Dairy Manager of the Year, Wayne Ashmore, Dairy Trainee of the Year, Chloe Mackle, as well as the region’s and New Zealand 1999 Sharemilkers of the Year, Dylan and Sheree Ditchfield. Further details on the winners and the field day can be found at

Share Farmer Merit Awards:

• DairyNZ Human Resources Award – Mathew Korteweg & Catherine Tate

• Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Mathew Korteweg & Catherine Tate

• Federated Farmers Leadership Award – Mike Henderson

• Honda Farm Safety and Health Award – Callum & Hanna Stalker

• LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Mike Henderson

• Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – Callum & Hanna Stalker

• Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Callum & Hanna Stalker

• Westpac Business Performance Award – Mathew Korteweg & Catherine Tate

Dairy Manager Merit Awards:

• Claude Wuest Memorial Encouragement Award – Angela Nicholson

• McIntyre Dick & Partners Employee Engagement Award – Wayne Ashmore

• Vet South Leadership Award – Wayne Ashmore

• Fonterra Farm Source Feed Management Award – Alex Potts

• DeLaval Livestock Management Award – Ann Linton

• Primary ITO Power Play Award – Wayne Ashmore

• Fonterra Farm Source Farm Management Award – Dante Calamayan

• Westpac Financial Management & Planning Award – Sam Hodsell

Dairy Trainee Merit Awards:

• The Wrangler Most Promising Entrant Award – Simone Smail

• Landpro Ltd Farming Knowledge Award – Joshua Best

• Shand Thomson Ltd Community & Industry Involvement Award – Joshua Best

• DairyNZ Practical Skills Award – Chloe Mackle

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