27 February 2017
The 2017 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year winners say entering the competition has given them a better understanding of their whole business.
“Being able to analyse why we make the decisions we do, and ensure they are the best for our farming enterprise has been a huge benefit of entering the Dairy Industry Awards,” say Rob and Shiralee Seerden.
The couple were named the 2017 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 Kenny Henderson, the 2017 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Manager of the Year, and Brandyn Beale, the 2017 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Trainee of the Year.
Rob and Shiralee Seerden have been on their current 80ha farm since 2009 and say their goal is to look for a new role in the 2018/19 season and move to a 450-650 head position, either in 50/50 sharemilking or an equity partnership job.
The couple, aged 45 and 44 years and with seven children, are currently sharemilking 225 cows for John and Jean Ellison at Norsewood. They won $9,570 in prizes.
The Seerdens have entered the Share Farmer competition previously and say their strengths are valuing their employers, employees, business contacts and community, and treating them accordingly. “We need them to run our business successfully.”
The couple’s farming procedures are continually evaluated through all stages, with a focus on measuring results through quality practices. “The end result is well-grown and healthy cows that are able to perform and produce well,” they say.
The Seerdens are actively positioning themselves to take advantage of any sharemilking opportunities that become available.
Second placegetters in the Share Farmer competition were Adam and Rebecca Giddens. The 28 and 26-year-old are currently contract milking 450 cows on Kevin and Janet Gray’s Carterton farm. They won $5,040 in prizes. They believe the foundation of their business lies in strong animal husbandry and pasture management skills with the ability to make timely decisions. “We have also built strong support networks and good working relationships with service providers,” they say.
Third placegetter in the Share Farmer competition was 27-year-old Thomas Read who has created a flexible family business with a diverse income stream. “We need to be flexible because global milk prices are very variable, and we have to adapt our business practices quickly so that we do not lose money.” Thomas won $3,420 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.
It is fourth time lucky for the 2017 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Manager of the Year, Kenny Henderson.
“Entering previously has made me more aware of my strengths and weaknesses as a manager, thanks to judges’ feedback. I have increased my profile within the industry and made new contacts,” says Kenny. This year he has been successful in the region’s Dairy Manager competition, winning $4150 in prizes.
Mr Henderson, aged 37 years, is the farm manager for 2008 NZ Sharemilkers of the Year Ben and Nicky Allomes, who are 50/50 sharemilkers for Kay Cassells on her Woodville property. “My farming goal is to remain in a stable work position in one area and farm for as long as possible to allow my wife and children a settled lifestyle,” says Mr Henderson.
“Currently remaining where I am and progressing to self-employment would be ideal as the Allomes are very progressive employers and the farm is very well set out in a manner that enables it to be profitable.”
He says farm infrastructure is well established and the farm is being changed in accordance with new technology that is becoming available. “Ben and Nicky always challenge you to do better and not settle for the status quo, to be the trendsetter and push to be the best.”
Takapau farm manager Craig Pennell, aged 53 years, placed second in the Dairy Manager competition, winning $1,890 in prizes. Mr Pennell manages Andrea Barry’s 780-cow property.
Third in the Dairy Manager Competition was 27 year old Damon Ashworth winning $1,250 in prizes. Mr Ashworth is farm manager on Tony Kuriger’s Woodville property
The 2017 Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Trainee of the Year is 21-year-old Brandyn Beale, who
is currently herd manager on Mike and Jane Joho’s 350-cow farm at Dannevirke. He won $4,945 in prizes.
Mr Beale plans to progress to a manager’s position in the next few years. “I also want to be running 150 bulls on land that I will lease off my great-grandparents and eventually purchase that.”
His other interests are all things sport, especially motorsport. “I am the Vice-President of our recently formed DVK Burnouts club, and we are working with the council as youths, to get a funded skid pad.”
Dannevirke farm assistant Aaron Courage, aged 18 years, was second in the Dairy Trainee competition, winning $1,250 in prizes. Barnabas Ben-canaan was third.
The Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Industry Awards field day will be held on 14 March 2017
on the Norsewood farm where Share Farmers of the Year, Rob and Shiralee Seerden, 50/50 sharemilk. Also presenting at the field day will be the region’s Dairy Manager of the Year, Kenny Henderson and Dairy Trainee of the Year, Brandyn Beale. Further details on the winners and the field day can be found on this website.
Share Farmer Merit Awards:
• DairyNZ Human Resources Award – Adam & Becs Giddens
• Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award – Adam & Becs Giddens
• Federated Farmers Leadership Award – Adam & Becs Giddens
• Honda Farm Safety and Health Award – Rob & Shiralee Seerden
• LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Rob & Shiralee Seerden
• Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – Adam & Becs Giddens
• Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Rob & Shiralee Seerden
• Westpac Business Performance Award – Rob & Shiralee Seerden
Dairy Manager Merit Awards:
• Hawkes Bay Wairarapa NZDIA Most Promising Entrant – David Pinfold
• Moore Stephens Markhams Ltd Employee Engagement Award – Craig Pennell
• I.S Dam Lining Ltd Leadership Award – Damon Ashworth
• Fonterra Farm Source Dairy Management Award – Kenny Henderson
• DeLaval Livestock Management Award - Craig Pennell
• PrimaryITO Power Play Award – Craig Pennell
• Fonterra Farm Source Feed Management Award – Kenny Henderson
• Westpac Financial Management & Planning Award – Damon Ashworth
Dairy Trainee Merit Awards:
• Hawkes Bay Wairarapa NZDIA Most Promising Entrant- Charlotte Oram
• TFM Tractors Farming Knowledge Award – Aaron Courage
• Watson and Son Communication & Engagement Award – Aimee France
• Property Brokers Community & Industry Involvement Award – Aimee France
• DairyNZ Practical Skills Award - Barnabas Ben-Canaan