Gore couple win regional dairy final

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Regional winners . . Southland-Otago section winners of the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are (from left) dairy trainee Simone Smail, of Invercargill, share farmers Simon and Hilary Vallely, of Gore, and dairy manager Jaime McCrostie, of Winton. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Gore couple Simon and Hilary Vallely have won the Southland-Otago share farmers of the year title in the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.

The award function was held on Wednesday night at Bill Richardson Transport World in Invercargill.

Mr and Mrs Vallely (both 31) are 50:50 sharemilking 475 cows on David and Valerie Stafford’s 160ha farm.

They believed strong relationships with all people they dealt with were the key to their successful business.

They were proud of the record production results they had achieved.

The couple bought a 72ha property, which they farmed in conjunction with sharemilking, and were pleased to have survived a low payout during a challenging time with minimal bank security.

Future farming goals included consolidating debt, owning a 500 cow farm by 2020 and improving per-cow production to 100% body weight.

Steven and Hayley Clarke, also of Gore, were runners-up, and Jason Checketts, of Lumsden, was third.

Jaime McCrostie (32), who manages a 930-cow farm at Winton, was named dairy manager of the year, with Chloe Mackle (Invercargill) second and James Matheson (Gore) third.

Dairy trainee of the year was Simone Smail (24), of Invercargill, with Shannon Bunn (Heriot) runner-up and Caycee Cormack (Heriot) third.

The winners go forward to compete against other regional winners throughout New Zealand. The national winners will be announced at a dinner on Saturday, May 12, at ILT Stadium Southland, in Invercargill.