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Dairy Manager of the Year

Finals Round Judging Information

Finals Judging

IMPORTANT - Download detailed format & instructions here

  • Judging will be held through the months of January, February and March. Check your regional dates to make sure you will be around and not sunning yourself on the beach! Closer to your region's judging dates, you will receive your specific judging date and time.

  • Five entrants will progress to the final round of judging. Finals judging takes place on farm and may be no more than 1 ¾ hours. Again, if it is done in less time, that's ok. Finals judging is a step up from the preliminary round and the judging breakdown and expected timeframes are shown below.

Judges Feedback

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

Regional Winner

  • Regional winners progress to the National Final. In April/May they are judged by a national judging team to determine the national winners and place getters. National finals judging is on farm and largely entrant presentation based. There is also a formal interview during the national finals week. Further information will be provided to regional winners following their regional awards dinner.

Judging Criteria

The Finals Judging Criteria (pdf) will assist you to get your preparation for judging underway. If you take time to read these now, and get started on your preparation sooner rather than later, you will feel more confident when judging time rolls around.


As stated in the Judging Criteria for this category, you are required to have a written contract and this must be available for viewing by the category judges. Please remember to have your contract available on judging day.

Assessment Tools

DairyNZ provide tools to help you assess your farm performance.

  • DairyBase helps you better understand your farm system and its performance, by comparing KPIs (key performance indicators) and determining what is working well, then identifying opportunities for improvement. Find out more. 

Ravensdown are here to support you on your NZDIA journey and have a team of local agri-managers available for you to reach out to at any time. The team can come to you on farm or chat over the phone to assist with any of your preparation and have speciality knowledge in environmental, pastural and feed management.

  • Online Learning Portal - online course with a focus on Ravensdown's core services and products, fertiliser information, soils and fertility info, environmental considerations on farm and gives you a view to our nutrient reporting software, HawkEye. On the last page you will find your local agri manager's contact details. Click here to try it.

Where should I start?

Follow the format outline.

Do I have to use all the time allocated?

You don't have to use all the time allocated, but we suggest you make the most of the time you have. But remember, you can't use more than the allocated time. It may be a good idea to consider allocating time relative to the points for each section.

Do I have to do a PowerPoint presentation?

How you present to the judges is entirely up to you. There is no right or wrong way to present to the judges. This is what makes your presentation personal. This may be talking with no prompts or using notes, a flipchart, PowerPoint or some other creative medium. Use whatever style you are comfortable with, it''s over to you.

Does the farm need to have a Health & Safety Policy in place?

Yes, most definitely. It is a requirement of your entry that the farm has a Health & Safety policy in place. Further information.

How do I transport the judges around the farm?

Due to time, you may want to move the judges around the farm on some form of transport. This is fine, as long as it doesn't compromise the health and safety of the judges.

My partner is an entrant and works off-farm, can they be involved in my presentation?

If your partner works off-farm, they can be part of your presentation as long as they are presenting what they have some involvement with. For example, this may be financials or calf rearing. However, if your partner chooses not to be involved in your presentation, you will not be disadvantaged.

If my partner is not an entrant, can they be involved in my presentation?

Your partner can be part of your presentation as long as they only present what they have involvement with. For example, this may be personal financials or goals. However, if your partner chooses not to be involved in your presentation, you will not be disadvantaged and it is not generally expected that your partner would be involved (unless you are joint entrants).

What should I wear?

The best approach is to convey a professional image to the judges. Most entrants will wear smart-casual clothing.

Should I provide food for the judges?

You are not obliged to feed the judges however having a glass or bottle of water available for them would be appreciated as judging mostly happens over the summer. If you do provide refreshments, do not be offended if the judges don't have time to eat or drink what is on offer as they have tight time schedules!

What do I do if it's raining?

Your judges will come prepared for rain so don't let this put you off your presentation. Judges are well aware you cannot dial up the weather for the day. Just remember to ensure any presentation techniques are weather resistant or have a back-up plan!

Do the judges want to see any documentation?

What you present to the judges during your presentation is up to you. You do need to have your employment agreement or contract available for the judges to view. You will need to consider what documentation you need to provide the judges to confirm or back-up parts of your presentation.

Is it ok to target certain Merit Awards?

Absolutely. Some entrants who have a particular passion or desire to win a certain Merit Award may angle their approach towards this, but must follow the outlined format.

How do I receive feedback from the judges?

You will receive written feedback from your judges - finalists receive their preliminary judges feedback shortly after their first round of judging while non-finalists receive their feedback after the Regional Awards Dinner. Finalists will receive their final judges feedback after the Regional Awards Dinner. All entrants are able to contact their judges by phone after the Awards Dinner to discuss their feedback - we encourage you to do this to benefit fully from the judging process.

What if my financials aren't as good as I'd like?

The financial section is primarily about your personal financial planning and performance. The judges are interested in how well you manage and understand your financial performance with the resources you have available to you. There may be some questions that cover factors affecting farm finances (i.e., payout) but you will not be expected to go into any detail about the finances of the farm.

Where should I begin presenting to the judges?

The judges will meet you at the farm dairy and judging will start here. The head judge will contact you prior to judging to confirm your address and any details for where to meet. If you need to carry out any inductions elsewhere from the farm dairy (i.e., at the farm gate) please advise the head judge when they phone.