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11 Jan 2012
WEATHER DEALS EXTREMES FOR DAIRY AWARDS ENTRANTS Weather extremes across the country are making life interesting on the farm for entrants in the 2012 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, as they head into judging later this month.

The awards national executive chairman Matthew Richards says his Southland farm has gone 43 days without rain, something he is calling a dry spell.

In Northland, regional convenor Murray Jamieson has had 730mm of rain since the beginning of December and has lush grass cover a foot high.

“We could easily milk another 100 to 150 cows – the only downside is the lack of sunshine hours which makes the grass low in ME (energy) and fibre.”

Production is up nearly 4% and grass growth ranges from 45 to 80kg DM per day. “We’re very happy with our lot!” Mr Jamieson says.

Mr Richards says the dry spell had not affected his milk production, as he was feeding out silage but those without supplement would be affected. He says good rain would change the situation in Southland quickly.

He says the weather conditions across the country would make it interesting for judges.

“It will be quite good to see how the entrants are managing the dry spell and I am sure there will be some managing it better than others. Likewise in the north, it will be interesting to see how some are managing the abundant feed to maximise production and costs.

“Regardless of the weather, judges treat all entrants the same by judging them on how they are managing the resources available to them. It’s not about who has the highest milk production, but who is doing the best with what is available to them.”

The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda Motorcycles NZ, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown and RD1, along with industry partner AgITO.

Entrants in the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year contests have been invited to information and sponsor evenings prior to judging. These begin on January 18.

The first regional winners will be announced at the end of February.

Visit for more information on the awards.

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