Marlborough’s Dawkins family have won the local sheep and beef farmer of the year competition.

Richard and Jess, together with his parents Chris and Julia, have an intensive sheep and cattle operation, shed-lamb triplet ewes and average an impressive 166% lambing (MA ewes) with very high survival (14.5% lamb loss including triplets). Income streams include forestry (15% planted in a range of species), firewood, Pyramid Apiaries and a 100-hectare vineyard.

The runner-up by only a couple of points was Middlehurst Station owned by Willie
and Susan Macdonald. This 16,550ha station in the Awatere Valley, together with the Cheviot finishing block, winters 16,200 stock units of Merinos and cattle. Lambing percentage is typically 125-128% and ewes clip 7kg of wool.

Competition chair Simon Harvey said the scores were very close, with both properties excelling across the categories of animal performance, land management, financial, social/community and business management.

Both had very high animal performance and excellent expense to income ratio. A field-day will be held at the winner’s farm in spring.