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Dairy Manager of the Year

If you're currently employed on a dairy farm in a full-time position and don't have any equity in any dairy farming business and aren't self-employed, the Dairy Manager of the Year Award could be for you.

The judges will benchmark you on several topics including people and personal, pasture and feed, livestock, farm, environment and sustainability. 

How to Enter

Check Eligibility

Find out which category you are eligible for. See eligibility details below.

Create account

Create an Account (or Login if you already have one) to complete an Entry Form during the entry period.

Get permission

We require your Farm Owner's and Employer's permission (if they are different people). Include their email for electronic permission or supply printed permission if they don't use email.

Receive access

Once we have permission, you'll receive an email with instructions on accessing our 'entrants only' portal. Here you'll find extra info including judging tips.


To be eligible for the Dairy Manager of the Year Award, you'll need to be:

  • Currently employed full-time on a dairy farm

  • Not self-employed

  • Don't have any equity in a dairy farming business 

  • A New Zealand Citizen, New Zealand Resident or hold a New Zealand Work Visa at the close of entries

  • Meet the additional eligibility criteria set out in the Conditions of Entry 

If you are unsure which category you can enter, please use our Contact page to get in touch outlining your circumstance. 

Role titles you might have to enter this category

  • Farm Assistant

  • Assistant Farm Manager

  • Herd Manager

  • Production Manager

  • 2IC

  • Operations Manager

  • Farm Manager

DMOTY Judging Process


  JanuaryFebruary / March 
  1 hr 30 mins 
  All entrants

Check your regional judging dates to ensure you're free (you'll receive your specific judging date and time closer to your region's judging dates).

  • Intro/H&S/biosecurity induction (5 mins)

  • Entrant presentation (10-20 mins) - covering key farm details and context. You'll receive further info on what to cover.

  • Farm tour and interview (45-60 mins) - Judges will ask questions as they go, covering the judging criteria. You'll receive further info on places to be visited and things to be available to show them.

  • Compliance questions (5 min)


  January / February / March
  1 hr 45 mins 
  Top 5 entrants selected from prelims

Five entrants progress from prelims to the final round of judging. Finals judging is structured similarly to prelims. 

  • Intro/H&S/biosecurity induction (5 mins)

  • Entrant Presentation (15-20 mins) - will expand from prelims to include personal and financial planning and management.

  • Farm tour and interview (45-60 mins) - Judges will ask questions as they go, covering the judging criteria. You'll receive further info on places to be visited and things to be available to show them. This will be expanded from the prelim round.

  • Judge's questions (5-10 mins) - any questions they have resulting from the presentation and tour/interview.

  • Industry awareness and perception questions (5 mins) - Entrants will be asked two industry opinion questions.

  • Declaration/compliance questions (5 min)


  Late April / Early May
  2 hours 
  All regional winners

Regional winners progress to the national final and in May of each year, they are judged by a national judging team to determine the national winner and placegetters. The final interview covers: 

  • Farm - Farm overview, your role in farm dairy, Health, Safety and Biosecurity

  • People and personal - Training and development, engagement, future plans

  • Environment and sustainability - Effluent, nutrients, waterbodies

  • Pasture and feed - Planning and monitoring, pasture improvement, soils and fertiliser

  • Livestock - Herd, animal health, mating, animal welfare, young stock

Before the national final dinner, the regional winners have an interview with the national judging panel. This completes their judging process.


Check the Judging Criteria specific for each round of judging. Judges in your category are experienced in farming and want to know about you and your farming career.

Entrants receive a written feedback report from their judges, with finalists receiving a report from each of their judging rounds.

Merit Awards

All entrants are also eligible and automatically entered into our coveted Merit Awards in each region, recognising excellence in specific areas.

  • DeLaval Livestock Management Award  

  • Fonterra Dairy Management Award

  • Sustainable Pasture Award

  • Environmental Sustainability Award

  • People & Leadership Award

  • CowManager Personal Planning & Financial Management Award

  • Emerging Talent Award

Awards events

Regional Awards Dinner

   Your region
  All entrants

Each region has an awards dinner where the merit awards are presented and the Dairy Manager of the Year winners are announced. These dinners are a fantastic night out and an excellent way to mix with fellow entrants, peers, sponsors and judges.

Regional Winners Field Day 

   Your region
  Regional Winners

The Dairy Industry Awards Winners Field Day is held on the property of the Share Farmer of the Year winner. The winners from the Dairy Trainee of the Year and Dairy Manager of the Year categories are required to attend the Field Day and give a short presentation.

National Sponsors Breakfast

   Nationals Location
  Regional Winners

The regional winners meet a few days before the National Final and enjoy getting to know each other while partaking in some educational and fun activities. Before the National Final Dinner, the regional winners have an interview with the National judging panel. This completes their judging process.

National Final Awards Dinner

   Nationals Location
  Regional Winners

All regional winners go on to compete for the title 'Dairy Trainee of the Year' which is held in May each year and announced at the National Awards Dinner. National Merit Awards are also announced here.

Access tailored help

Each awards region has a Regional Manager as well as a Dairy Manager of the Year Team Leader whose focus is the Dairy Manager of the Year category. You can get in touch for tailored one-on-one help with your entry. You can also check out our FAQs below.

"You have to make farming desirable and do things for yourself 'outside the wire' and the more you take care of your personal life and have fun, the more enjoyable the job is."

Sam Dodd
2022 Waikato Dairy Manager of the Year 


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