Thursday, July 7, 2022

Meeting the challenge

The Auckland Hauraki Dairy Trainee of the Year, Mathew Whittaker, 28, has seen the milk production target for the farm where he works drop by 10,000kg milksolids (MS) due to the drought. “We’ve been on once-a-day (OAD) since the week before Christmas,” he said.

He entered the awards for the first time as a challenge after gaining in confidence in the past two years in his second-in-charge role on Steve and Andrea Mills, on their Paerata farm, near Pukekohe, milking 440 cows.

He spent two and a half years working part-time on dairy farms around the Pukekawa and Port Waikato areas before taking up his current role four years ago for employers he said have passed on “great knowledge” to him.

He plans to go managing or lower order sharemilking with wife Claire by 2015 with the ultimate goal of 50:50 sharemilking somewhere in the wider Auckland area with 300 cows within six years. But the lack of such positions may mean they and their three children Charlotte, 6, Nathan, 4, and Faith, 3 may need to look further afield.

Second place went to Paeroa assistant Andrew Hodgson, 23, who also won the DairyNZ Practical Skills Award and Paeroa assistant Marion Reynolds, 24, who also won the Franklin Vets Farming Knowledge Award, was third.

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