Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year 2014, Isaac Vujcich, says the competition was well worth it and winning was fantastic.
Mr Vujcich started milking cows in September 2012 and now works as a 2IC at a 1000 cow dairy farm in Methven.
This was the second time he had entered the competition and would highly recommend other North Otago trainees entering.
“It’s not terribly complicated,” he said.
“If you pay attention it’s not hard.”
The first round of judging was held at Rakaia and involved a 10 minute interview and a 10 minute practical. Competitors had to mix chemicals, identify tools, assemble a milking cluster and condition score cows for the practical component.
The top six trainees went on to the regional final which was held on an Ashburton property. There competitors had to participate in a 15 minute interview and practical. A good awareness of the dairy industry was required and trainees were questioned on their career goals and community involvement.
The practical component included drafting, moving and condition scoring cows, and then competitors had to tell judges how they would maintain their condition. They had to change a tyre on a quad bike and complete a weekly safety check on the bike.
“A lot of the practical section was common sense and we had to show flexibility with making decisions,” Mr Vujcich said.
He was announced the Canterbury/North Otago Trainee of the Year and went on to compete in the national final, which he said was a great experience and involved meeting a lot of people. Contestants received a week long, expenses-paid trip to Auckland and Hamilton where they were shown around dairy farms and milk processing factories.
Completing tasks safely was a big issue at the final and contestants had to complete a first aid component, assess pasture using a rising plate meter and allocate to a certain number of cows, identify plant species, safely and correctly use a tractor and change the blades on a mower, and complete a fencing module.
Judges observed the social interactions of the finalists and conducted personal interviews.
Mr Vujcich said the competition has ‘opened a lot of doors’ and this year in his role as 2IC he has been given as much responsibility has he can cope with.
He is looking forward to managing a dairy farm and is focused on building equity.
By LINDA MCCARTHY
TOP OF HIS GAME: Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year winner, Isaac Vujcich, is a 2IC on a non-irrigated 1000 cow farm at Methven this season.