Striving to be at the top of his game

NZ Farmer

Wayne Ashmore likes to push himself outside his comfort zone.

He currently manages one of Fortuna Group's Southland dairy farms - Glenarlea Farm at Isla Bank.

More than 900 cows are milked on the 330 hectare effective property by Wayne and his four-full time staff.

Wayne grew up in Wallacetown, near Invercargill, and completed the PGG Wrightsons farm cadet course when he left school.

He then worked for a sharemilker for three years before going to work on a high country sheep and beef farm for two years.

He has worked at Glenarlea Farm for eight years and was initially employed as herd manager before stepping into the farm manager's position four years ago.

He now plans to become a farm supervisor and oversee a few of the group's farming operations.

"The group has a wealth of knowledge and due to its size we are able to try new things," Wayne said.

Wayne likes to push himself outside his comfort zone and was thrilled to win the 2016 Southland-Otago Dairy Manager of the Year Award in Gore recently.

"I'm normally quiet and not a great public speaker.

"I wanted to challenge myself," Wayne said.

He also picked up the McIntyre Dick & Partners Employee Encouragement Award and the Vet South Leadership Award.

Wayne's key responsibilities on the farm include making sure the cows are well fed and looked after, that high pasture quality is maintained throughout the season and employing and managing staff.

His wife Anna helps out when needed, rears calves and does the administration work.

The farm can be very wet in the spring, so managing the pastures to ensure minimal pasture damage at times such as calving can be challenging.

In order to mitigate the lower milk payout, Wayne and his team aim to milk as long as possible into June.

Currently on a 41-day round, the aim is to feed mainly pasture and drop costly supplementary feed.

Fodder beet will be used to extend the milking season through to mid June and shorten down winter grazing costs.

Wayne is well supported by Fortuna's senior management team and he has access to a wealth of knowledge.

He makes an effort to further his own knowledge and this year will attend the Professional Primary Producers Business Management Programme.

He has also signed up for next season's Biz Start.

Wayne's short-term goal was to use Kiwisaver to buy a property and to become a farm supervisor.

His medium-term goal was to go 50 per cent sharemilking or invest in Fortuna Group with a long-term goal of farm ownership.

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