Dairy industry crowns the cream of the crop

2022 Southland-Otago Dairy Industry Awards were held in Invercargill on Saturday night. Pictured are (from left) Dairy Trainee of the Year winner Aidan Roe, Share Farmer of the Year winners Emma and Hamish Day, and Dairy Manager of the Year Laura Murdoch.

THE winners of the 2022 Southland-Otago Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year category say they are focused, organised and goal-driven and farm with passion to deliver excellence.

Emma and Hamish Day were announced the winners at a dinner held at Bill Richardson Transport World in Invercargill on Saturday night.

The other big winners were Laura Murdoch, who was named the 2022 Southland/Otago Dairy Manager of the Year, and Aidan Roe the 2022 Southland/Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year.

The Days left their city jobs and rush-hour traffic in Wellington and entered the dairy industry in 2011, with Mr Day starting as a farm assistant while Mrs Day raised calves and relief milked.

“Hamish was a city boy all his life but had a taste of farming through my family who are dairy farmers and he really enjoyed the diversity,” Mrs Day said.

The couple have progressed through the industry and are now contract milking for Peter and Maria Clinton on their 220ha property at Mabel Bush, near Invercargill, milking 700 cows. They won $13,176 in prizes plus four merit awards.

“We entered this year to really work out why we farm like we do.

“We wanted to understand our business and identify areas for improvement.

“We also entered as a way to network and meet like-minded people in the dairy industry.”

Future farming goals include another contract milking position with the ultimate goal of farm ownership.

Laura Murdoch was named the the 2022 Southland/Otago Dairy Manager of the Year. Ms Murdoch won $7000 in prizes plus three merit awards and is 2IC for Chris Reilly on his 83ha, 230-cow Mokotua property.

The former accountant has experienced the Awards programme previously and found it helpful to receive unbiased feedback on her progression plans and to identify areas to upskill.

She entered the dairy industry in 2017 and believes her skillset and natural, unique bond with cows is in its own niche within the industry.

“I have a passion for learning, progression and animal welfare, as well as excellent best-practices for farming in general.’’

Ms Murdoch aimed to be a leader in the industry and inspire others with her journey.

“I’d love to showcase the joys and highlights of dairy farming, it’s a very rewarding industry to be a part of.”

The 2022 Southland-Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year is Aidan Roe who believed there were many opportunities for young people in the dairy industry.

He is farm assistant on Peter Sanford’s 200ha Winton property, milking 560 cows.

He won $6000 in prizes and two merit awards.

Mr Roe holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from Lincoln University and believed the pandemic had shown the world how important the food and fibre sectors were.

“It’s important to continue to learn from the experienced farmers and take in as much of their knowledge as possible.”