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Hawkes Bay Wairarapa Dairy Awards Winners announced

The 2018 Hawkes Bay Wairarapa Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year winners say entering the competition has been excellent for networking, growth and knowledge of their business.

“It’s been a huge benefit to receive feedback from the judges on ways we can improve our business. Plus we love the thrill of the competition!” say Thomas and Jennifer Read.

The couple were named the 2018 Hawkes Bay Wairarapa Share Farmers of the Year at the region’s annual awards dinner held at the Copthorne Hotel and Resort in Masterton last night. The other major winners were Gerard Boerjan, the 2018 Hawkes Bay Wairarapa Dairy Manager of the Year, and Brock Cumming, the 2018 Hawkes Bay Wairarapa Dairy Trainee of the Year.

Thomas and Jennifer Read, both aged 28 years with two children, currently 50:50 sharemilk 260 cows for Shane and Lydia Read on their 91.5ha property at Dannevirke. They would like to progress to farm ownership and as a good start won $9,250 in prizes.

The Reads have entered the Share Farmer competition previously and count coming third as one of their biggest career highlights. “We are also very proud we have gained two sharemilking positions in five years and that we have strong working relationships with our farm owners,” they say.

The couple say their strengths are their ability to see their weaknesses and then improve on them, which in turn minimises risk in their business. “Team-work is another strength we are proud of,” says Jennifer. “We are a family business and strive to have good working relationships with our farm owners, staff and everyone we work with.”

The Reads want to be involved in seeing the dairy industry being the best that it can be. “I grew up in the dairy industry, I love working with animals and we love the lifestyle,” says Thomas. “We can spend time with our kids, be near to home and there is so much opportunity within this industry to change and grow.”

“Ultimately we want to create a business that goes beyond our generation.”

Second placegetter in the Share Farmer competition was Adam Vollebregt. The 28 year old is currently contract milking 550 cows on Tahora Dairy Ltd’s Featherston farm. He won $5,120 in prizes. He believes the foundation of his business lies in creating a diverse income stream, meaning if one area drops the other can take up the slack. “I don’t just rely on the one income stream, I have milk production, animal ownership, lease block and heifer grazing,” explains Adam. “Reliable, good staff are another strength. It enables flexibility around time off and jobs are always done in a timely fashion. Surrounding myself with good, like-minded people means advice is never in short supply if I need it.”

Third placegetters in the Share Farmer competition were Mark and Jenny Rosacker who have improved their mean calving date by 15 days since taking over the herd. “The slow-calving pattern is still a work in progress,” say the couple, who are aged 35 and 29 years respectively.

The Rosackers believe their strong relationship makes it easy to work together on-farm, and enables good business and financial decision-making. They won $3,120 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 2018 Hawkes Bay Wairarapa Dairy Manager of the Year, Gerard Boerjan entered the Awards with the hope of benchmarking his business against others, and meeting new people to grow his support network.

“I was encouraged by my family and farm owners to enter,” says Gerard. “There are so many opportunities in this industry, there’s a variety of jobs and different skills required. I can work at home and watch my three children grow up.” Gerard has won $6,260 in prizes.

Gerard, aged 50 years, has successfully farmed in Portugal and Brazil and is currently Farm Manager for Trevor Hamilton on his 553ha Takapau property. “My farming goal is to buy a 400+ head dairy farm of our own, whilst keeping my current role.”

“I really enjoy my work, both on-farm and in a mentoring role for Primary ITO and the local AgriKids.”

He says working for very successful farm owners who are willing to pass on their knowledge ensures the farm infrastructure is well established and runs smoothly. “They are very supportive of their Managers, giving as much autonomy as the Farm Manager can successfully handle.”

Masterton Farm Manager Nicholas Verhoek, aged 32 years, placed second in the Dairy Manager competition, winning $2,200 in prizes. Nicholas manages Selwyn and Jenny McLachlan’s 210ha property, and was the region’s 2013 Dairy Trainee of the Year.

Third in the Dairy Manager Competition was 25 year old Sumit Kamboj winning $1,450 in prizes. Sumit is farm manager on Andrew and Monika Arbuthnott’s Eketahuna property

The 2018 Hawkes Bay Wairarapa Dairy Trainee of the Year is 21-year-old Brock Cumming, who
is currently a Farm Assistant on Jane and Larry White’s 1030-cow farm at Ashley Clinton. He won $5,680 in prizes.

Brock wants to progress into a 2IC position. “I am pretty open-minded on where I go after that, I do know that I want to manage staff in a manner that makes them happy to come to work every day and enjoy the job as much as I do.”

Brock feels his strengths lie in his wide range of knowledge and skills. “I’m not limited to just milking cows and growing grass. I’ve learnt so much about electricity, mechanics, engineering, waterways and the environment. There are so many different aspects to farming.”

His interests include hunting and anything to do with water such as fishing, diving and snorkelling. “I’m also a volunteer firefighter, which keeps me busy during the week.”

Carterton 2IC Harry Eschenbach, aged 19 years, was second in the Dairy Trainee competition, winning $1,560 in prizes. 21-year old Dannevirke 2IC Matthew McDougall was third.

The Hawkes Bay Wairarapa Dairy Industry Awards field day will be held on 21 March 2018 at 375 Armstrong Road RD8 Dannevirke, where Share Farmers of the Year, Thomas and Jennifer Read, 50/50 sharemilk. Also presenting at the field day will be the region’s Dairy Manager of the Year, Gerard Boerjan and Dairy Trainee of the Year, Brock Cumming. Further details on the winners and the field day can be found at

Share Farmer Merit Awards:
• DairyNZ Human Resources Award – Adam Vollebregt
• Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Mark and Jenny Rosacker
• Federated Farmers Leadership Award – Adam Vollebregt
• Honda Farm Safety and Health Award – Mark and Jenny Rosacker
• LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Adam Vollebregt
• Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – Thomas and Jennifer Read
• Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Thomas and Jennifer Read
• Westpac Business Performance Award - Thomas and Jennifer Read

Dairy Manager Merit Awards:
• Hawkes Bay Wairarapa NZDIA Most Promising Entrant – Dan Phillips
• Moore Stephens Markhams Ltd Employee Engagement Award – Gerard Boerjan
• Irrigation Services Feed Management Award – Nicholas Verhoek
• Tailorednz Wealth Management Leadership Award – Derek de Jong
• Fonterra Farm Source Dairy Management Award - Gerard Boerjan
• DeLaval Livestock Management Award – Nicholas Verhoek
• Primary ITO Power Play Award – Gerard Boerjan
• Westpac Financial Management & Planning Award – Gerard Boerjan

Dairy Trainee Merit Awards:
• Hawkes Bay Wairarapa NZDIA Most Promising Entrant- Aimee France
• Hawkes Bay Wairarapa NZDIA Farming Knowledge Award – Matthew McDougall
• TFM Tractors Communication & Engagement Award – Harry Eschenbach
• Vet Services Community & Industry Involvement Award – Harry Eschenbach
• DairyNZ Practical Skills Award – Brock Cumming

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