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Dinuka and Nadeeka Gamage won the Share Farmer of the Year category at the awards held at the Airforce Museum of New Zealand in Wigram earlier this month.
The Gamages say the networking, strength and weakness identification and recognition they gain through the awards process were motivating factors to re-enter. Mr Gamage was third in the 2016 dairy manager category.
The Ashburton couple contract milk 980 cows on the 245ha Dairy Holdings Ltd property.
Runners-up were Daniel and Laura Joho, contract milkers for John and Rose Acland on their 350ha Ashburton property, milking 1250 cows. Daminda Gajamange, who contract milks 1450 cows on Canterbury Grasslands Ltd’s 400ha farm at Darfield, was third.
Maria Alvarez, winner of the Dairy Manager of the Year, believed a strength of her business lay in the simple, pasture-based system that suits low milk pay-outs.
She is farm manager on Dairy Holdings Ltd’s 180ha, 660-cow property at Ashburton and the first-time entrant said the awards programme made her realise how much she had achieved.
Ms Alvarez had an agricultural engineering degree from Argentina, and aimed to complete a diploma in agribusiness.
Tharanga Senavirathna (Ashburton) was second and Jaspreet Singh (Darfield) was third.
Dairy Trainee of the Year winner Mattes Groenendijk, is a farm assistant on Ngai Tahu Farming’s 950-cow, 303ha Rangiora property.
He holds a bachelor of agriscience and master of science (animal science) from Massey University.
Runner-up was Waimakariri farm assistant Kelly Poehls and Thomas Lilley, of Coldstream, was third.