The adverse weather challenges that wreaked mayhem and destruction upon Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa earlier this year, combined with other challenges on farm this season such as labour shortages, has severely impacted entrant numbers in the region’s dairy industry awards programme, as several entrants withdrew due to the devastating effects on their properties and families.
Traditionally, when a region has low entrant numbers, places are only offered to winner and runner-up, or just the winner only, and when entrant numbers were very low, the category did not proceed.
However, with entrants wanting to take part in the Awards programme and benefiting from doing so, not allowing them to participate goes against the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards’ philosophy and what the programme is striving to achieve.
That approach also forces a winner of the category when the entrant may not be ready to progress to Nationals.
This year, Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa Share Farmer entrant scores were benchmarked against the national average, with data collated from the 10 other regions.
This means merit awards are awarded if the entrant achieved at the right level.
Women featured strongly in the Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa finalists, with six out of seven places awarded to females.
Runner-up in the 2023 Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year category was awarded to Zoe Reichardt at the region’s annual awards last night in Masterton.
The major winners were Alice Gysbertsen, the 2023 Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Manager of the Year, and Nicola Bosch, the 2023 Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Trainee of the Year.
Zoe is a variable order sharemilker on Sinclair Brothers’ 110ha, 280-cow Balance property. She won four merit awards.
Zoe says entering the Awards programme in the past has had many benefits, primarily gaining an understanding of the industry and the different pathways that can be taken to achieve goals.
In her first year sharemilking, Zoe spent five years progressing her career in the industry before taking two years out and working at Farmlands as a Technical Field Officer.
Returning to the lifestyle she loves in a new role has meant she has renewed energy and enjoys the busy calving season and seeing the hard work pay off.
Zoe is excited to see how farmers can utilise the new technology to learn more about animals. “I would like to see myself as a role model for other solo managers that are looking to take the step into contract milking.”
The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors DeLaval, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda, LIC, Meridian, Ravensdown, and Trelleborg, along with industry partners DairyNZ, MediaWorks and Rural Training Solutions NZ.
The 2023 Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Manager of the Year, Alice Gysbertsen, won $5,650 in prizes plus four merit awards.
Alice is 2IC on Bryan Tucker’s 308ha, 1000-cow farm at Greytown.
The 28-year-old loves the endless opportunities that exist in the dairy industry and the various ways to progress. “I’d love to see myself sharemilking in the near future.”
During challenging times, her love for her job and passion for the industry gets Alice up on the morning and drives her to get through the harder times.
“Self-confidence has been a challenge, but with the right support I’ve been able to overcome this pretty well.”
Alice has achieved PrimaryITO Levels 3 and 4 and is currently studying toward PrimaryITO Level 5 Production Management.
She cites the family-orientated business as a strength. “Opportunities to progress within the business are plentiful as we are a bigger farm and staff can always progress in some way
Runner-up in the Dairy Manager category was Krissy Rive who works on Justin King’s 164ha, 483-cow Takapau property. She won two merit awards.
The first-time entrant says she entered the Awards program to challenge herself, to open up to new challenges and meet like-minded people.
The 34-year-old would like to change inaccurate perceptions on dairy farming and farmers. “We all try very hard to protect the environment and our animals.”
Krissy is proud to be part of a progressive industry and her passion for animals and knowing they depend on her, drives her during challenging times.
She cites the ability to grown their own feed on-farm for their animals as hugely beneficial.
“We also have great communication and support between farm owner and farm manager.”
The third placegetter in the Dairy Manager category is Sophie White who is 2IC on Matthew Honeysett’s 460ha, 1200-cow farm at Featherston.
The 2023 Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Trainee of the Year is Nicola Bosch who was inspired to enter the Awards when watching former school mate Dayna Rowe win the 2021 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year title, representing Bay of Plenty.
“I thought the Awards looked like a great way to learn new skills and meet new people. I was encouraged to enter by my farm owner, and thought I’d give it a go.”
Nicola is 2IC on Murray Holdaway’s 150ha, 450-cow farm at West Pahiatua. She won $7,350 in prizes and one merit award.
The first-time entrant holds a degree in Veterinary Technology from Massey University and it was while she was studying that she began working part-time on Murray’s farm. “I decided I really enjoyed it. I like the variability of the day and working outdoors with cows, which are my favourite animal by far.”
“Finding a job and boss that helped and encouraged me to grow and learn really developed my love for the industry.’
Nicola is excited to see how far technology has developed and integrated itself into the dairy industry, giving the use of cow collars, drafting, fencing systems, sexed semen and GPS as examples.
“I think it’s a great time to be farming, as these options can greatly reduce the mental and physical load on farmers if they use these tools.”
The 23-year-old is also interested in genetics and how far limits can be pushed to increase milk production efficiency per cow to reduce the environmental impact on the climate.
“I see myself using any technology available in my job to its full potential and advocating for more sustainable and environmentally-friendly farming.”
Nicola says the past year has been excited and fast-paced since she began working full-time and she has found almost everything a challenge to learn – from driving a tractor to putting up fences.
“I used to dread these tasks but have found over time I’ve developed confidence to perform them and not stress about it.”
“I was also worried that as a woman I wouldn’t have the physical strength to perform some tasks, but have found that strength isn’t everything – there is always a different way to outmanoeuvre the problem.”
Future farming goals include remaining in her current role for another season to learn as much as she can and complete PrimaryITO Level 4, then progressing to contract milking or sharemilking with her partner, Kieran.
Pahiatua farm assistant Shiann Cattley was second in the Dairy Trainee category, also winning two merit awards. She works on Kerry and Val Fergus’ 76ha, 260-cow property.
Shiann would like to see changes to the bobby calf industry. “It would be amazing to see less calves going to slaughter at 4 days old and I think with selected breeding and sexed semen this is very possible.”
Share Farmer Merit Awards:
- DairyNZ – People and Culture Award Zoe Reichardt
- Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award Zoe Reichardt
- Federated Farmers Leadership Award Zoe Reichardt
- Lawson Avery Ltd Business Performance Award Zoe Reichardt
Dairy Manager Merit Awards:
- DeLaval Livestock Management Award Krissy Rive
- Fonterra Dairy Management Award Krissy Rive
- Meridian Environmental Sustainability Award Alice Gysbertsen
- Vet Services (Dannevirke) Pasture & Feed Management Award Alice Gysbertsen
- TFM Tractors People & Leadership Award Alice Gysbertsen
- Lawson Avery Ltd Personal Planning & Financial Management Award Alice Gysbertsen
- Ravensdown Emerging Talent Award Seamus Murnane
Dairy Trainee Merit Awards:
- DairyNZ Practical Skills Award Shiann Cattley
- TH Enterprises Ltd Emerging Talent Award Rawiri Ruri Ngatai
- Honda Farming Knowledge Award Nicola Bosch
- Farm Focus Communication & Industry Involvement Award Shiann Cattley