Hard work pays off in Manawatu Dairy Awards

Until now the 2015 Manawatu Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, Richard Ash, has been too busy working on his dairy farming business to consider entering the competition.

However, the first time entrant’s hard work has paid off as Mr Ash claimed the major title and $19,150 in prizes at the Manawatu Dairy Industry Awards held at the Awapuni Racecourse in Palmerston North last night.

The other big winners were John Wyatt, the 2015 Manawatu Farm Manager of the Year, and Blake Moore, the region’s 2015 Dairy Trainee of the Year.

Mr Ash is 33 years old and equity sharemilking 1400 cows for David and Sarah Marshall near Marton. He has worked for the Marshalls for 10 years, after completing a Bachelor of Applied Science from Massey University and travelling and farming overseas.

He says he has complimentary skills and a great working relationship with the Marshalls. “I’ve also got a great team of staff and support people that help me on what is a unique property.

“My ultimate farming goal is I would love to own my own farm. In the meantime I’d like to keep learning, as I am passionate about the co-operative nature of the dairy industry.”

Sanson 25% equity farm manager Aaron Taylor was runner-up in the Manawatu Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, winning $6650 in prizes. Third went to Ashhurst 21% sharemilkers Ben and Lizzie Ash, winning $5800 in prizes.

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

The 2015 Manawatu Farm Manager of the Year, John Wyatt, is making excellent progress in his dairy farming career – back in 2009 he won the Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Trainee of the Year title.

The 25-year-old is a farm manager for Kevin and Joanne Argyle milking 460 cows at Kairanga. He won $9245 in prizes.

Second in the farm manager contest went to Opiki contract milkers Jarrod and Nikki Greenwood, who won $6200 in prizes, and Rangiwahia farm managers Jon and Crystal Cranshaw placed third, winning $3900 in prizes.

Winning the 2015 Manawatu Dairy Trainee of the Year will boost Blake Moore’s opportunities as he seeks a manager’s position for the coming season.

The 21-year-old is currently 2IC for Olsen Agriculture milking 750 cows at peak at Opiki. He won $8000 in prizes.

Mr Moore says he is looking to progress to a manager’s position and then aims to continue to progress through sharemilking to farm ownership. “It is all small steps to becoming a farm owner by 2035.”

Runner-up in the Manawatu trainee contest was Opiki 2IC Paul Mercer, who won $2170 in prizes. Waitarere Beach herd manager Simon Wilkes was third, winning $920 in prizes.

Mr Mercer is employed by the farm manager runners-up Jarrod and Nikki Greenwood on Ian Strahan’s Opiki farm.

Manawatu Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, Richard Ash, will host a field day on April 9, while Farm Manager of the Year, John Wyatt, will host a field day on the Kairanga farm he manages on March 31.

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