Dairy farmers outstanding in their field

21:59, Mar 03 2014
 Stewart Watson
CHASING HONOURS: Takaka’s Stewart Watson is a finalist in the West Coast/Top of the South Dairy Trainee of the Year.

The top of the South dairy industry's big night has 18 finalists in line for top awards.

The winners will be announced at the West Coast Top of the South Dairy Industry Awards dinner in Shantytown on Thursday.

Seven finalists from 19 entrants are in line for the 2014 West Coast Top of the South Dairy Trainee of the Year.

They are: Takaka assistant manager Stewart Watson, who works on a 580-cow farm; Emma McConochie, farm assistant working with 516 cows, Nelson; Joseph McNaull, trainee, 930 cows, Dobson; Bridgette Payton, 310 cows, Rai Valley; Stewart Watson, assistant manager, 580 cows, Takaka; Jack Raharuhi, production manager, 1100 cows, Westport and Amy White, trainee, 355 cows, Murchison.

Regional conveners Shaun and Liza Connor say the competition for the finals places indicates the competition is tight.

"The large group of trainees is also really pleasing and demonstrates that the region's dairy industry is in great heart. These young people are pretty focused on lifting their skills and knowledge so they can progress in the industry."

The finalists for the West Coast Top of the South Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year are: Gareth and Jenny Evans, lower order sharemilkers, 455 cows, Ikamatua; Kelvin and Heather McKay, equity farm managers, 175 cows, Camerons; Jon and Vickie Nicholls, lower order sharemilkers, 460 cows, Murchison; Ant and Suzi O'Malley, lower order sharemilkers, 350 cows, Kowhitirangi; Steven and Kerry Semmens, equity farm managers, 765 cows, Tapawera, and Chris & Carla Staples, 50 per cent sharemilkers, 370 cows, Whataroa.

The West Coast Top of the South Farm Manager of the Year finalists are: Adam Boaz, farm manager, 179 cows, Takaka; Hayden George, farm manager, 890 cows, Dobson; Jason Macbeth, contract milker, 286 cows, Murchison; Thomas Oats & Hannah Davies, contract milker, 341 cows, Mawheraiti; Alice Reilly, manager, 239 cows, Takaka and Rabecca Stafford, manager, 970 cows, Inangahua Junction.

Tickets to the dinner cost $75 from Sonya Perkins on 03 738 0832 or 021 900 284.