A Hamilton soil and water consultant is questioning the effectiveness of the dairy effluent storage calculator on Waikato farms.
The couple took out the top award and collected more than $15,000 in prizes at the Waikato Dairy Industry Awards held at the Bledisloe Hall, Mystery Creek, attended by 450 people this week. The other big winners were Thomas White, who took out the Waikato Farm Manager of the Year title, and Mark Jacobs, the 2012 Waikato Dairy Trainee of the Year.
Barry and Nicky McTamney are currently 50% sharemilking 275 cows for the MacLennan Family Trust on an 82ha farm near Otorohanga.
In June they will become equity partners and managers of a 500-cow farm at Maihiihi and they plan to purchase it outright within 10 years.
They say a key to their success is keeping it simple. "Simple, repeatable systems provide consistent performance in the face of climatic and economic volatility. Thorough recording and monitoring enables informed decisions to be made early, versus reactions to be made too early or too late or not at all.
"And while we run a simple system, our focus on getting the basics right has provided our business with added income streams."
The couple, who hold a Bachelor of Applied Science in Forestry and Agriculture (Barry) and Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (Nicky), has worked their way up the industry in the past 10 years. They say the awards reinforces goals and the steps needed to achieve these goals.
Te Awamutu lower order sharemilkers Hamish and Katie Flett placed second in the Waikato Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year contest, winning $8500 in prizes, and Te Awamutu equity farm managers James Kinston and Jennie Macky were third, winning $4500.
The Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda Motorcycles NZ, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown and RD1, along with industry partner AgITO.
Waikato Farm Manager of the Year, Thomas White, is contract milking 390 cows for his parents, Philip and Maree White, on their 112ha Putaruru farm. He won $10,000 in cash and prizes.
It was the first time White, aged 23 years, had entered the awards. "I entered for the opportunity to benchmark myself and to get feedback from the judges on my strengths and weaknesses."
He says a strength is farming on a good farm, in a good district and community. "Another key strength is being able to work together as a family to achieve our individual personal and business goals."
Jacobs, aged 25, is currently herd manager on a 400-cow farm owned by Sir Patrick Hogan at Cambridge.
He has been dairy farming for four years and is currently studying with AgITO to improve his skills and knowledge. He plans to continue studying towards a Bachelor of Agriculture while also progressing in the industry to become general manager on a high input, large scale dairy farm.