Friday, July 21, 2017
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Bay dairy farmers believe in education

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The major winners in the 2017 Bay of Plenty Dairy Industry Awards, Cameron and Margaret Bierre, see their academic qualifications and previous careers as a strength.

The couple were announced winners of the region’s Share Farmer of the Year competition at the Bay Of Plenty Dairy Industry Awards annual awards dinner held at the Awakeri Events Centre last night.

The other big winners were Hayden and Linda McCartie, who were named the 2017 Bay Of Plenty Dairy Managers of the Year, and Hayden Goodall, the 2017 Bay of Plenty Dairy Trainee of the Year.

Cameron and Margaret Bierre, both aged 30, are 24 per cent sharemilking 800 cows for Scottie and Jill McLeod at Whakatane, and won $12,500 in prizes.

They have been in the industry nine years, with Margaret also working for Eastpack (Kiwifruit), utilising her BSc Ecology and Horticulture. 

Cameron holds a BSc Agriculture and Agribusiness and has previously worked for Dairy NZ. Both have numerous industry certificates and accreditations.

“Our academic qualifications coupled with a proven experience in running low-cost profitable dairy systems is one of our strengths, along with pasture management and tight cost control.”

Their goal is to develop and maintain a resilient business that is profitable across variable payout years and to continue to build equity to have land holdings which will allow a rural lifestyle for their family. 

The Bierre’s entered the awards to analyse and re-focus on their business and benchmark it against others in the industry to gain improvement.

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

The winners of the 2017 Bay of Plenty Dairy Manager of the Year competition hoped that entering the competitions would enable them to meet new people in the Bay of Plenty regions dairy industry.

Hayden and Linda McCartie, aged 35 and 38 years, won $8,725 in prizes and are farm managers for the Gow Family Trust 215ha farm, milking 710 cows in Whakatane.

“Taking a close look at how we manage the farm identifies our strengths and weaknesses and where we need to improve,” say the couple.

Hayden and Linda McCartie of Whakatane, winners of the  Bay of Plenty Dairy Industry Awards Dairy’s  Dairy Manager of the Year award.

The McCarties believe their strength lies in their team. 

“Everyone works well together, there’s good communication between everyone and it is a positive place to work,” says Hayden.

“The layout of the farm and the facilities make our job easier, as there is good cow flow and everything is centrally located.”

Whakatane farm manager Bridie Virbickas, aged 26 years, was second in the Dairy Manager competition, winning $4900 in prizes. Bridie holds a Bachelor in AgScience, majoring in Agriculture and would like to be contract milking by the 2018/19 season.

Bridie is farm manager for Bernard and Linda Virbickas on their Whakatane property, milking 280 cows. 

She sees the family-orientated business as a strong foundation on which to build her career, with everyone working towards a common goal.

Pongakawa associate farm manager Andre Meier, 27, placed third and won $2575 in prizes. Andre works on Ann and Will Nettleingham’s 250ha farm, milking 750 cows.

He believes a great infrastructure makes farming more enjoyable, making it a lifestyle rather than a job. 

“I work for great owners that have great systems in place and are not concerned about spending money on animal health.  Healthy cows are number one,” says Andre.

It’s third time lucky for the 2017 Bay of Plenty Dairy Trainee of the Year, Hayden Goodall, who says entering the awards has given him the opportunity to network with other entrants, farm owners, sponsors and their representatives. 

“It’s also allowed me to get my name into the farming industry and has helped with setting future goals.”

The 24-year-old has been in the industry for three seasons and is currently herd manager for Matt Gow on his 750-cow property at Matata and won $6,525 in prizes.

Keeping a good work-life balance is important to Hayden, enabling him to spend quality time with his wife and two young daughters aged five and one. 

“I thrive off achievement and I love to be challenged.  I have a passion for this industry and would like to do my part, along with my wife, to help make it a sustainable, profitable and environmentally-friendly career,” explains Hayden. 

“As future employers, we want to reflect these principles while providing a fun, family-friendly work environment.”

Runner-up in the Dairy Trainee competition was 19-year-old Kaimai herd manager Joseph Braybrook, who won $1750 in prizes. 

His future goals include contract milking by the age of 21 years, and 50/50 sharemilking by the age of 30. 

“I’m very driven and focused 100 per cent on my achieving my goals.” 

Joseph is herd manager for Glen Ashford on his 650-cow property.

Third place in the Dairy Trainee competition went to 25-year-old farm assistant Nicholas Body, who won $1500 in prizes.  He also works on Glen Ashford’s Kaimai farm.

The Bay of Plenty Dairy Industry Awards winners field day will be held on March 28 at 220 Te Rahu Road, RD3, Whakatane where Share Farmers of the Year, Cameron and Margaret Bierre, sharemilk. Also presenting at the field day will be the region’s Dairy Manager of the Year, Hayden and Linda McCartie and Dairy Trainee of the Year, Hayden Goodall. Further details on the winners and the field day can be found at

Winners of the Bay of Plenty Dairy Industry Awards announced last night are from left Hayden and Linda McCartie of Whakatane, Dairy Managers of the Year, Cameron and Marg Bierre of Whakatane, Share Farmers of the Year and Dairy Trainees of the Year Hayden and Chelsea Goodall of Whakatane.


Share Farmer Merit Awards:

  • DairyNZ Human Resources Award – Cameron & Marg Bierre
  • Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award –  Andrew Strawbridge
  • Federated Farmers Leadership Award – Josh Cozens
  • Honda Farm Safety and Health Award – Cameron & Marg Bierre
  • LIC Recording and Productivity Award – Cameron & Marg Bierre
  • Meridian Energy Farm Environment Award – Andrew Strawbridge
  • Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award – Cameron & Marg Bierre
  • Westpac Business Performance Award – Cameron & Marg Bierre


Dairy Manager Merit Awards:

  • BOP Regional Council Most Promising Entrant Award - Joe Kehely
  • The Business Results Group Employee Engagement Award– Hayden & Linda McCartie
  • BlackmanSpargo Rural Law Ltd Leadership Award – Andre Meier
  • Fonterra Farm Source Dairy Management Award – Hayden & Linda McCartie
  • DeLaval Livestock Management Award – Jessica Judd
  • Primary ITO Power Play Award – Bridie Virbickas
  • Fonterra Farm Source Feed Management Award – Hayden & Linda McCartie
  • Westpac Financial Management & Planning Award – Andre Meier


Dairy Trainee Merit Awards:

  • Waiotahi Contractors Ltd Most Promising Entrant Award – Rich Pulman
  • Gallagher Group Farming Knowledge Award – Mason Moij
  • Pacific Toyota Communication & Engagement Award – Cameron Law
  • Haddock Spraypainters & Panelbeaters Community & Industry Involvement Award - Joe Braybrook
  • DairyNZ Practical Skills Award – Joe Braybrook


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