Elaine Fisher

David Reesby’s future career was probably sealed the day he pulled on his first tiny gumboots and overalls.

“Mum says once she got me into my Red Bands and overalls, she couldn’t get me out of them,” the 19-year-old 2020 Manawatu Dairy Trainee of the Year says.

“I was already involved on the farm while at school and the day I left, was fulltime. There was never any doubt that this was what I wanted to do,” David says, who is 2IC on the 180-hectare Foxton farm owned TRD, GD and SJ Reesby,.

He credits his grandfather Don and parents Sandra and Gareth Reesby with fostering his love of farming.

“They are great role models. Granddad is still very much involved and most mornings beats me to the shed. He’s a hard worker and loves milking.” The farm’s 420 Friesian cows are milked through a 36-aside herringbone shed.

David would like to progress through the industry and become a contract milker with a long-term goal of herd ownership and sharemilking, and an ultimate goal of land ownership. He is studying for Level 4 dairy qualifications through Primary ITO at Feilding. This is his second season working fulltime on the farm and it’s been a dry one.

“We have K-line irrigation, using bore water so got through the summer okay, still milking twice a day and keeping milk production up. It’s a system 3 to 4 farm. We locked up about 30ha on the dairy platform to make silage which we have fed out.”

This was the first time David had entered the awards.

“I entered to challenge myself and develop more personal skills. I was pretty pleased to win the I.S Dam Lining Ltd Communication and Engagement Award in particular as public speaking is not something I find easy and really have to push myself to do.

“I would like to thank the DIA organisers, and sponsors and all the other entrants and place-getters for the hard work they all put into the awards. I’ve met some great people within the industry and made new friends.”

Outside of farming, David enjoys small-bore rifle shooting.

“It’s a precision sport and you have to have a good eye for detail. It’s also a good stress release and a chance to get off farm.”

However, in April, getting off farm wasn’t possible due to the Covid-19 lockdown. David learned of his success in the dairy awards via a Facebook video, but as they were in his quarantine “bubble” David was able to watch the video with his parents.

“I think they were pretty chuffed with the result.”

Question: What’s it like having three generations of your family working together?

Answer: “They are happy to share their knowledge but also open to listening to my ideas. I have key responsibilities on the farm as we all do. We have regular shed meetings to discuss planning. I’m taking on more responsibilities as I progress and learn.”

Isabella Archer from Bulls placed second in the Dairy Trainee category and Dominic Semmens from Palmerston North was third.

Dairy trainee merit awards

Manawatu DIA Most Promising Entrant Award – Josh Wilkinson

Castlegate James NZ Ltd Farming Knowledge Award – Isabella Archer

Massey University’s School of Agriculture and Environment award and the School of Veterinary Sciences Community and Industry Involvement Award – David Reesby

I.S Dam Lining Ltd Communication and Engagement Award – David Reesby

DairyNZ Practical Skills Award – David Reesby