Runners-up for the Canterbury/North Otago Sharemilker of the Year title are Shaun and Andrea Wise, who contract milk 590 cows for Dairy Holdings on a 134ha Rangitata Island property.
Ruwan Wijayasena (43) is now in his 14th year dairy farming, promoting sustainable best practices and increasing profit by innovating.
He says the past few years have shown the business is achieving consistent results. “I wanted to share this with the wider industry and discover other opportunities for the business to grow.”
Ruwan is contract milking 1840 cows for Theland Farm Group Ltd on a 537ha Darfield farm. He won $10,750 in prizes plus two merit awards.
He holds a BSc Agri Sciences degree from Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, majoring in livestock production.
“I have always loved being a farmer, and I was lucky to join Synlait Farms, now Theland Farm Group, who shared my desire to implement best farm practices for sustainability.”
Ruwan sees his consistent results as a strength of the sustainable dairy business. “They are a result of lean implementation and LWP implementation under a strong leadership.”
“My wife and I are Buddhist and have a religious barrier of not being able to own cows and make decisions to kill them. We have found a way to grow our business without following the traditional footsteps.”
Farming goals include expanding the contract milking business. “I am not planning to become 50/50 sharemilker and then a farm owner. I can prove that there are other ways to grow than the traditional ladder and wish to share my knowledge with the industry.”