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Canterbury Dairy Awards Winners Leading the Way

Canterbury Dairy Awards Winners Leading the Way

The major winners in the 2016 Canterbury Dairy Industry Awards, Michael and Susie Woodward, would like to assist in closing the divide between urban and rural New Zealanders.

The couple were announced winners of the region’s Share Farmer of the Year competition at the Canterbury Dairy Industry Awards annual awards dinner held in the Airforce Museum at Wigram last night. The other big winners were Hamish Kilpatrick, who became the 2016 Canterbury Dairy Manager of the Year, and Rikki Forge, the 2016 Canterbury Dairy Trainee of the Year.

Michael and Susie Woodward, aged 35 and 33 years, are 50% sharemilking 1000 cows for Purata Farming Ltd at Dunsandel. They won more than $17,000 in prizes.

The couple were the 2011 Canterbury Farm Managers of the Year and entered the awards for a fourth time for the business and risk analysis it provides. “It helps to identify gaps to improve farm performance and day-to-day running. We also enjoy meeting like-minded people and connecting with industry leaders.

“We would like to be leaders in the industry and help to close the urban rural divide.”

They have been employed on large scale dairy farms for 13 years and aim to run a sustainable business, both in terms of profit and the environment.

“We are good at large scale farming. We understand the logistics well, how to employ the right people for the job, and have good repeatable systems. We always aim to debunk the myth that large scale farming has large scale waste and inefficiencies.”

Mr Woodward has a Diploma in Farm Management from Lincoln University, while Mrs Woodward is from a US dairy farm and has a Bachelor of Science from Iowa State University. They say their skills are complimentary and they’d like to continue building equity until they are in a position to purchase their family farm.

The runners-up in the Share Farmer competition, Tony Coltman and Dana Carver, aged 46 and 43 years, are equity partners in a 1400 cow property at Dunsandel. They won $8900 in prizes. Fairlie 21% sharemilkers Matt and Vanessa Greenwood, aged 31 and 30, were third and won $3900 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.

The 2016 Canterbury Dairy Manager of the Year, Hamish Kilpatrick, has already secured his next step up the dairy industry ladder – as he progresses from a farm manager role to contract milking in the coming season.

Just 23-years-old, Mr Kilpatrick aims to continue to trade stock and build equity so he can return to his family’s Southland dairy farm as an equity partner or sharemilker within five years.

He is currently the farm manager on James McCone’s 370-cow Culverden property, where he will also contract milk from June. He won $9365 in prizes.

“I entered the awards for the first time this year because I wanted to challenge myself and be compared against other top farmers in the country. I saw it as a great opportunity to put my knowledge to the test and to further develop my skill set.”

Mr Kilpatrick entered the dairy industry in late 2014, after completing a Bachelor of Commerce from Lincoln University.

He says he is highly self-motivated to further progress within the industry and passionate about operating a low cost, low input, high production farming system. He is focused on pasture management and maintaining feed quality through fast round lengths and aggressive use of the mower.

“I’m open to outside of the box thinking around farm systems.”

Thirty-three-year-old Geraldine farm manager Matthew Parmar was runner-up in the Dairy Manager competition, winning $4500 in prizes, and Dinuka Gamage, a 37-year-old Culverden farm manager was third and won $3000 in prizes.

The 2016 Canterbury Dairy Trainee of the Year, Rikki Forge, used valuable judges’ feedback from entering the awards last year to claim this year’s title.

“I entered the trainee section last year and despite being unsuccessful, enjoyed all aspects. The judging process was a good challenge and combined with feedback gave me points to work on.

“I found everyone involved in the awards is there to learn and increase their capability to contribute positively toward the dairy industry,” Mr Forge says.

Aged 24 years, he is second-in-charge on a 1060 cow farm owned by Simon and Carolyn Spencer-Bower at Eyrewell. He is employed by Richard Pearse and Susan Geddes and won $8140 in prizes.

Mr Forge has been in the industry about three years and plans to take on a managing role in the coming season. He then plans to continue progressing in the industry.

“I would like to be involved with junior dairy staff development in some way as I see a need here and have always enjoyed this part of the job.”

Ashburton farm assistant Lauren Wilson, aged 23 years, placed second in the Dairy Trainee competition, winning $1500 in prizes, while 26-year-old Oamaru farm assistant Gareth Bearman, was third and won $2250 in prizes, including one merit award.

The Canterbury Dairy Industry Awards winners field day will be held on April 20 on the Dunsandel farm where Share Farmers of the Year, Michael and Susie Woodward, sharemilk. Also presenting at the field day will be the region’s Dairy Manager of the Year, Hamish Kilpatrick, Dairy Trainee of the Year, Rikki Forge, as well as the region’s and New Zealand 2005 Sharemilkers of the Year, Leo and Kathryn van den Beuken. Further details on the winners and the field day can be found at

Share Farmer Merit Awards:
· DairyNZ Human Resources Award – Michael & Susie Woodward

· Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Steve & Kersha Veix

· Federated Farmers Leadership Award – Tony Coltman & Dana Carver

· Honda Farm Safety and Health Award – Michael & Susie Woodward

· LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Michael & Susie Woodward

· Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – Tony Coltman & Dana Carver

· Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Matt & Vanessa Greenwood

· Westpac Business Performance Award – Michael & Susie Woodward

Dairy Manager Merit Awards:
· NZ Funds Private Wealth Most Promising Entrant Award – Emma Gibb

· Scansouth Employee Engagement Award – Matthew Parmar

· TH Enterprises Ltd Leadership Award – Dinuka Gamage

· Fonterra Farm Source Feed Management Award –Hamish Kilpatrick

· DeLaval Livestock Management Award – Matthew Parmar

· Primary ITO Power Play Award – Daniel McAtamney & Paula Lalich

· Fonterra Farm Source Farm Management Award – Murray Bowden

· Westpac Financial Management & Planning Award – Hamish Kilpatrick

Dairy Trainee Merit Awards:
· Environment Canterbury Most Promising Entrant Award – Nathan Frost

· Ngai Tahu Farming Farming Knowledge Award – Melissa Barwell

· FarmRight Community & Industry Involvement Award – Gareth Bearman

· DairyNZ Practical Skills Award – Rikki Forge

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