A couple from the Wairarapa named this year's Share Farmers of the Year at the New Zealand Dairy Awards over the weekend have been praised for their hard work, dedication and leadership.
Nick and Rosemarie Bertram took out the prestigious honour on Saturday night, ahead of runners up Sarah and Aidan Stevenson and third place's Samuel and Karen Bennett.
The Bertrams were "high achievers in all areas", said share farmer head judge Jacqui Groves.
The couple impressed the judges by remaining true to the vision, their mission and values in life, Groves said.
Nick, 33, and Rosemarie, 27, are 50/50 sharemilkers on a 150ha, 440-cow farm owned by Barry and Carol McNeil in Woodville.
Their win comes after Nick took out the Dairy Manager of the Year award in 2014. He was also runner up in Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa Share Farmer category last year.
Matt Richards, another of the share farmer judges, said the couple had a sound understanding of maximising pasture principles which influence operating profit and nutrient management.
"They have a 'back-to-basics' style of farm practice, which includes no in-shed feeding, no topping, no feed pad and no irrigation," he said.
The judge also commended the couple's community involvement.
"They share a goal of giving back to their community through their local fire brigade, Rural Support Trust, Farmstrong and Federated Farmers," said judge Guy Michaels.
The honour of Dairy Manager of the Year went to Andre Meier, 30, who works on Ao Marama Farms in Te Puke.
Dairy manager head judge Mark Shadwick said Meier stood out as a proactive manager who was always seeking new opportunities to grow and learn.
"Andre is an all-rounder who has established himself as a successful dairy manager whose track record speaks for itself," Shadwick said.
Malcolm Scott, another judge, said Meier put a focus on animal welfare.
“He has labour-efficient systems, highest standard livestock records and detailed farm mating policies,” says judge Malcom Scott from Westpac. “Together with bull management and six-week in-calf rates has resulted in industry-leading reproduction performance."
Paul Mercer was runner-up for Dairy Manager of the Year, with Daisy Higgs coming in third.
Twenty-one-year-old Grace Gibberd won the Dairy Trainee of the Year award, with judges praising her "exceptional overall understanding of general knowledge".
Gibberd is a farm assistant on a 115ha property in Newstead, in Waikato.
This year's Fonterra Responsible Dairy Ward went to Nick and Nicky Dawson of Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa.