The 2008 Central Plateau Sharemilkers of the Year Bryan and Tesha Gibson could be DairyNZ’s Go Dairying campaign pin-ups, having switched careers to make a success in dairy farming.
The couple left their accountancy and agricultural engineering jobs in 2001 to become farm hands. After another season as herd managers, they were offered a contract on Bryan Gibson’s family farm at Reporoa. After three years they were able to buy the herd to become 50% sharemilkers and they now plan to lease the farm at the end of their current contract.
The Gibson’s, who have a 440-cow herd on the 170ha farm owned by Paul and Christine Gibson, won $15,800 in cash and prizes.
They say skills developed from previous employment are paying dividends in dairying.
“Our system is really low cost as we can use our skills and expertise to tackle many jobs on the farm without having to resort to paying someone. We’ve salvaged a range of machinery that we can use when needed instead of paying contractors.
“We’ve also recognised the importance of having good professional advice, so we have a good team backing us up. Our accountant has provided excellent business structure guidance and our bank manager is willing to back our ideas and let us move forward.”
Marotiri 33% sharemilkers Nick and Bec Simmonds placed second in the Central Plateau Sharemilker of the Year, winning $7750 in cash and prizes. Ngongotaha sharemilkers Chris and Teresa Moore placed third, winning $6750 in cash and prizes.
The Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, DairyNZ, Fonterra, RD1, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, and Blue Wing Honda, along with industry partner Agriculture ITO.
The 2008 Central Plateau Farm Manager of the Year winner, Dana Johnson, and 2008 Central Plateau Dairy Trainee of the Year, Shaun Gardner, were also announced at the awards dinner held at the Great Lakes Centre in Taupo last night.
All three winners will now compete for the New Zealand Sharemilker of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year titles and a prize pool of more than $100,000 in Christchurch on May 24.
It was the second time Central Plateau Farm Manager of the Year Dana Johnson, who won $5250 in cash and prizes, had entered the awards saying they had helped her recognise the requirements needed to take the step up to 50% sharemilking.
Ms Johnson, 29, is currently managing a 74ha farm at Atiamuri owned by John and Anne Williams and milking 220 cows.
She has been in the industry for 10 years, beginning as a cadet, and believes one of the strengths she has developed in that time is good pasture management – ensuring pasture is better, cows are in better condition and production has increased. She is also proactive with animal health issues to reduce problems at spring time.
Twenty-five-year-old Mangakino contract milker Corina Perrott placed second in the Central Plateau Farm Manager of the Year award, winning $3500 in cash and prizes, and Tirohanga farm managers Mark and Jamie Perrott placed third, winning $1000 cash.
Central Plateau Dairy Trainee of the Year award winner Shaun Gardner is a trainee manager on an 183ha farm milking 460 cows owned by Graham and Avril Best at Rotorua.
Mr Gardner has won a number of Agriculture ITO training awards and prizes, including the JWJ Lepper Memorial Scholarship for apprentices in 2006. He has been a speaker at a Windows to Dairying event and last year started the Rotorua Young Farmers Club, which currently has 15 members.
He has been dairy farming since 2005 and plans to work his way up the industry, through farm management, contract milking and sharemilking, to one day own his own farm.
Mr Gardner won a $3000 prize package.
Central Plateau Sharemilkers of the Year Bryan and Tesha Gibson will host a field day on Thursday March 27, while Central Plateau Farm Manager of the Year Dana Johnson will host a field day on the Atiamuri farm she manages on Wednesday April 2. Further details on the winners and field days can be found on www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz.
Sharemilker Merit Awards:
Farm and Garden Pride and Passion Award – Bryan & Tesha Gibson
Blackman Spargo Legal Audit Award – Chris & Teresa Moore
Blue Wing Honda ATV Safety Award – Nick & Bec Simmonds
DairyNZ First Time Entrant Award – Chris & Teresa Moore
Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Nick & Bec Simmonds
Federated Farmers Leadership Award – Chris & Teresa Moore
LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Bryan & Tesha Gibson
Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – Bryan & Tesha Gibson
Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Joel McKay
Westpac Business Performance Award – Bryan & Tesha Gibson
Farm Manager Merit Awards:
Vet Club Rotorua Animal Health Management Award – Corina Perrott
DairyNZ Human Resource Management Award – Corina Perrott
RD1 Farm Management Award – Dana Johnson
Westpac Financial and Planning Award – Kelly Courtney-Smith