2024 Workshop Speakers


Monday 24 June
Optional Field Trip (bus trip to Lincoln University Research Farms)

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Prof. Pablo Gregorini
Lincoln University

Pablo joined Lincoln University as Professor of Livestock Production in 2017, where he focuses on nutritional and behavioral management of grazing ruminants focusing on environmental protection, animal welfare, human health, and agricultural systems design. In April 2023, Pablo added Agricultural Systems to his professorship’ now holding the Lincoln University Professorship of Livestock Production and Agricultural Systems. He heads the Lincoln University Centre of Excellence Future Productive Landscapes Design.

In addition to his research duties in New Zealand, Pablo is currently working on nutrition, foraging ecology, and grazing management of domesticated and wild ruminants in different grasslands and rangelands of the world. 

Dr. Racheal Bryant
Lincoln University

Racheal is a senior lecturer for the Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Lincoln University. She supervises a number of PhD students and collaborates with farmers and industry to partners to tackle the many challenges in the agricultural sector.  Racheal’s research interests include dairy farm systems and environment, calf rearing, ruminant nutrition, and agronomy.  

Omar Al-Marashdeh
Lincoln University

Omar is a senior lecturer in Animal Science at Lincoln University, where his expertise and interest extend across diverse areas of agricultural research. Omar arrived New Zealand in 2007 coming from Jordan, where he managed a dairy farm before embarking his academic career. Omar’s teaching and research has focused on ruminant nutrition, nitrogen partitioning and use efficiency, animal behaviour and welfare, and strategies to mitigate the negative environmental footprint of livestock farming systems, with primary focus on dairy systems. Combining his practical experience with his research skills, Omar has embarked on multi-year farm system studies. These studies have been dedicated to exploring the integration of plantain forage into the dairy system and its efficacy as a pioneering biological mitigation strategy for reducing nitrate leaching in pastoral-dairy systems.

Prof. Keith Cameron
Lincoln University

Keith Cameron is Emeritus Professor of Soil Science at Lincoln University. Keith helped to establish the SIDE event, the SIDDC partnership, and Lincoln University Dairy Farm over 20 years ago. His current research work is designed to help dairy farmers meet the greenhouse gas emissions challenges and the water quality challenges that we face. Along with his colleague Prof Hong Di, he is working with Ravensdown to develop a new ‘EcoPond’ effluent treatment technology to help farmers reduce on-farm methane emissions and reduce the risk of phosphate loss into water.


A person in a suit and tieDescription automatically generatedProf. Hong Di
Lincoln University

Professor Hong J Di is a Professor of Soil and Environmental Science in the Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Head of Centre for Soil and Environmental Research, Lincoln University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Fellow of the New Zealand Society of Soil Society, and Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences. In 2008, he was appointed by Her Majesty the Queen Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for ‘Services to Agricultural Research’ in the Queen’s birthday honours. Along with his colleague Professor Keith Cameron, they are working with Ravensdown to develop the new ‘EcoPond’ effluent treatment technology to help farmers reduce on-farm methane emissions and reduce the risk of phosphate loss into water. 



Managing a High Performance Team 
Tuesday morning session

Nick Edgar
NZ Landcare Trust

Nick Edgar, CEO of the NZ Landcare Trust, has led the nationwide charitable organisation for 16 years. His tenure has been marked by a relentless commitment to supporting pan-sector farmers and landowners in navigating the challenges of sustainable land and water use in New Zealand's ever-evolving environment. Nick also holds the position of Chairman at Global Landcare, further demonstrating his leadership and commitment to sustainable land management practices on a global scale. Drawing from his extensive experience in people management and a deep understanding of the complexities within the dairy industry, Nick fosters a culture of innovation and success within his teams.

Bridget Jonker
NZ Landcare Trust

Bridget, the National Catchments Manager for NZ Landcare Trust, has worked for international organizations such as the German Agency for International Development and has a wealth of experience in developing and implementing community conservation projects with high impact teams in remote locations in southern Africa. She developed and managed conservation partnerships spanning South Africa and Mozambique, contributing to transboundary river management initiatives involving diverse global and local partners across sectors. This hands-on involvement adds depth to her understanding of practical challenges and effective solutions, enriching her perspective on team management.

Tony Watson

Tony is 5th generation farming on dryland near Christchurch. He has held senior roles in industry bodies, private and public-listed farming businesses. Tony is currently business manager for a 1100 cow dairy farm at Te Pirita and also enjoys working directly with farmer clients to create work environments that are good for people and good for business.


Drivers to N Loss to Water and Mitigation Strategies
Tuesday morning session

Virginia Serra

Virginia is the Head of Solutions and Development DairyNZ and Hinds and Selwyn Project Manager (2018-2023). Virginia has been working in the New Zealand dairy sector for the last 20 years and is currently leading the Solutions and Development team at DairyNZ. Virginia is passionate about extension, farm systems and bringing science and facts to support decision-making on farms. 

Athol New​
Tullba Ltd

Athol is the founder and CEO of Tullba Ltd - 600ha Dairy and Beef business in Mayfield.
Athol has 17 years of dairy farming in Canterbury majority in large-scale senior management roles. 
Tullba’s vision is to continue to redefine farming to make every cow a champion. This means milking fewer better-quality cows to ensure our production is sustainable long term ideally without having to invest in off-paddock infrastructure. Athol will share with us the key priorities of his farming operation and how he is preparing for the future. Athol is currently also involved in the Plantain programme.

Terry Kilday​
Camden Group

Terry Kilday: General Manager - Camden Group. Terry has made a career working in and on the business of dairy farming in irrigated Canterbury for 25 years and is currently the General Manager for the Camden Group.  Terry enjoys the challenge farming puts in front of people and teams every day, as well as looking forward to improving farming systems for people, animals and the environment.  In recent years Terry and the Camden Group have been looking at options to reduce N loss from the farm system that align with the overall goals of the farm business.

Mick O'Connor
Dairy Holdings

Mick is the Farm Operations Manager – Dairy Holdings Limited and equity partner of a dairy farm in Burnham. Mick has been farming in Canterbury for the last 20 years. Mick will share some insights from his focus on farm system efficiency particularly around Nitrogen and Irrigation management. Mick was actively involved in the project and supported several extension initiatives.

James Booker
Southern Pastures

James is the General Manager of Farming – Southern Pastures. James has a dairying background from Waikato and Canterbury and has spent the last 8 years leading the Southern Pastures Canterbury business. Currently, he is the GM of Farming across both Canterbury and South Waikato. James has been involved in the Selwyn project with DairyNZ and has implemented subtle farm system changes across a range of Canterbury dairy units in recent years. He is a community member of Selwyn Waihora Zone committee which represents community interest in freshwater.


Health, Safety & Wellbeing - the other side of policy 
Tuesday morning session

Ryan Higgs

Ryan grew up on a farm in the Waikato region of New Zealand. He completed his undergraduate studies in agriculture before being awarded a Fulbright scholarship to complete a masters and PhD in animal science and mathematical modelling at Cornell University in New York.

On returning to New Zealand he joined a large scale dairy farming operation called Synlait farms, where he held an operations and innovation role. It was at Synlait where he and two co-founders identified a need for a digital system to manage the thousands of people coming and going from their properties which is when they started Onside. Ryan has led Onside since its inception with the company now having a footprint across Australia, New Zealand, and the UK, with offices in Christchurch and Melbourne.

Sarah Smart

Sarah has been dairy farming for 18 years in both South and North Otago. Sarah was a late comer to the industry, not starting until her late 20s when she had a career change so she could work with animals, which has always been her passion.

After having a serious quad bike accident on farm 12 years ago, Sarah wants to share the message of the importance of talking about safety on farms. 

Jack Raharuhi

Jack is a Business Manager for Pāmu Farms of New Zealand for 9 Businesses on the #westcoastbestcoast. Jack is a role model for all passionate farmers that want a career in the Dairy Industry. With his passion being in Leadership and Personal Development in his peers creating an engaged happy working environment that empowers his Teams to get high performance of Farm Excellence.

Most importantly Jack has a passion for workplace Health & Safety culture. Outside of his Pamu role, is the Buller High School Gateway Coordinator.
Ahuwhenua Young Maori Farmer of the year 2016.
New Zealand Dairy Manager of the year, West Coast Top of the South 2017.
Zanda McDonald Award Recipient 2020.


Succession Planning - It's a Family Affair
Tuesday afternoon session

Chris Couglan
Rural Coach

A partner in Rural Coach, much of Chris’ career has involved working in facilitation with rural communities. A significant part of this involved those challenged with resource use and management. This experience, built a keen understanding and empathy for the impacts of change confronting farming businesses, families and the intergenerational implications that many decisions made can have.
Chris is recognised for her ability to build trust and participant buy-in through providing safe communication environments.  Such environments create strong relationships, support robust discussions and make for better decision making. All critical elements for success when family is at the core of succession planning and getting decisions right.

Collectively Rural Coach has worked with over 500 families nationwide on their succession planning journey. We look forward to providing insight into a process that can seem daunting, helping you to get the conversations that matter started.


Setting up a Successful Winter Grazing System
Tuesday afternoon session

Fraser Tasker

Fraser & Lisa Tasker along with their three children farm two intergenerational properties at
Ruapuna, Mid Canterbury. A 152 ha effective (135ha irrigated) dairy farm peak milking 585
cows & a 186 ha effective dryland support & stock trading property.
With a contract milker on the dairy farm Fraser & Lisa handle the day to day running of the
support property which is used to raise the replacement heifers, beef X heifers, friesian & beef X
bulls & wintering cows, along with trading 2000-3000 sheep per year.
Yearlings are wintered on fodder beet & grass balage, 2 year olds on kale & barley whole
crop balage, and cows are wintered on grass & grass silage.

Jeremy Casey

Jeremy and partner Kim Solly have been progressing to farm ownership through large herd sharemilking and equity partnerships on Canterbury dairy farms for the last 24 years. They have always had an interest in trying new farming technology or management techniques and were prepared to do the science to help decide what works and what doesn’t.
Back Track Dairies is a 500ha, 1400 cow enterprise comprising of an 800 cow and a 600 cow unit with a neighbouring support block. Over the 14 years since conversion from dry land cropping to BCI irrigated dairy, the two farms have compared a conventional to a biological fertiliser approach, and recorded all relevant farm production data as well as financial outcomes. A step on from this has been a comparison of winter grazing on kale vs grass/ baleage, and resulting nitrate accumulation in the soil and potential loss. All of the farms research efforts have been carried out by scientists from Lincoln University and reported as peer reviewed papers which are available to allow farmers and industry to draw their own conclusions.
Adam Hardie
Adam, alongside his wife and three children are based on the North banks of the Rakaia River. 
He manages a 420ha block alongside farm owners Don and Jenny Hayes who run another 120ha block that combined, winters 5500 cows on beet and kale diets. Adam grew up working on dairy farms on the West Coast around the Lake Brunner area and has been working in a dairy support role for the last 12 years.


Irrigation and Water Use Efficiency
Tuesday afternoon session

Andrew Curtis
Primary Insights

Andrew Curtis is an owner of Primary Insight, a business that specialises in irrigation monitoring and irrigation system assessment. He has over 25-years hands-on experience with irrigation and water management. Alongside managing irrigated enterprises, he has also co-authored many of the NZ Irrigation Codes of Practice and associated resources. He regularly provides practical irrigation management workshops for irrigators in Canterbury and Otago. Andrew also provides support and advice into government agencies and Councils around water management and climate change.


Stephen McNally
Irrigation NZ

Stephen McNally brings over 40 years of experience in diverse aspects of agricultural and horticultural infrastructure across the rural sectors of New Zealand and Australia. Armed with a degree in horticultural science, he has worked as a greenhouse crop technology advisor, operated his own horticultural export business, and lead an irrigation system design team in an international engineering consultancy. In his most recent role as the Principal Technical Advisor to Irrigation NZ, Stephen has been driving best practices in freshwater management. His current responsibilities include actively leading discussions on water storage policy with government and strengthening the knowledge irrigation best practice. His commitment to industry standards and training was recognized with an IrrigationNZ Honorary Life Membership in 2018. Stephen's mission centers around empowering the irrigation sector to make robust and defendable decisions on natural resource management, achieved through the effective communication of sound science and engineering knowledge to a diverse audience.

Mike Bowler
Rainer Irrigation

Mike Bowler, Irrigation Designer with Rainer Irrigation, Ashburton. Mike got his BSc Agriculture from the University of Zimbabwe and also has a post graduate qualification in GIS from Massey University.  Mike has had over 30 years experience in designing and supplying irrigation systems, both in Africa and in New Zealand.  Mike has been involved with irrigating a wide variety of crops including horticulture, extensive systems and pastures, utilizing a range of irrigation methods including drip, micro and overhead irrigation systems.


Building the most resilient cow for the future – the challenges, opportunities and returns with respect to genetics.
Wednesday morning session


Andrew Fear

Andrew has previously worked as general manager for Analytica Laboratories and Precise Consulting & Laboratory. Prior to that he worked for LIC for seventeen years where his role included working as general manager of operations and service. 

Dr Melissa Stephen

Melissa Stephen is a quantitative geneticist at DairyNZ. She has worked for DairyNZ for nearly 10 years and has completed a Master’s and phD in the animal breeding field during that time. The focus of both her theses was improving the accuracy of estimated breeding values (EBV’s) using early-in-life predictor traits.


Dr Lorna McNaughton



Lorna is a senior scientist at LIC, leading a small team that focus on field trials to collect data for genetic evaluation. Her first encounter with methane research was way back in 2004 when she first started at LIC. In the intervening years she has worked across a range of projects. Ranging from female reproduction and heifer liveweight targets to facial eczema. Since 2018 her main focus has been setting up and running a trial to measure methane emissions and feed intake in dairy bulls.



Unlocking your Potential for Growth
Wednesday morning session

Loshni Manikam
Rural Coach & Author

Loshni is a coach, facilitator, and author, who has three sometimes-lovely children and farms in Southland on a 600-cow dairy farm with her husband Donald Kidd. Her fascination with human behaviour has seen her career transition from law to dairy farming to leadership coaching before setting up her business Thriving Farming Women. She specialises in working on people development in the agri-sector because of her conviction that people are the key component of the continued success of the sector – unlocking their potential has benefits for the individual, their farming businesses, their communities, and our sector.Loshni’s work to create positive change in the sector was recognised with the award of Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year in 2018.


Navigating the Ins and Outs of Contracts
Wednesday morning session

Kerry Burt 

Kerry Burt, alongside his wife Aimee and their three children, are currently 50/50 sharemilking across two properties for Gary and Lynda Burgress. The Leeston property a 580 cowherd through a 40 a side herringbone shed, with in shed feeding on 148Ha. The Hinds property 50 minutes from Leeston is a 450 cow herd through a 40 aside herringbone shed, with 30 ACR’s on a 129Ha. The couple are dedicated to creating a herd comprised of F11 cows.
Kerry and Aimee's farming values underpin how they operate daily, which have been fundamental to their success to date. One of their guiding principles is "Happy healthy people equals, happy healthy cows”.
The couple place great emphasis on fostering strong relationships with everybody who directly or indirectly supports their business. They recognise the impact of every decision made, no matter the size and its impact on the bottom line, prioritising financial monitoring to ensure the long-term success, and sustainability of their operation. Achieving a healthy work life balance for the family is a non-negotiable, which enables them to put their best foot forward in their business day after day.

Richard & Chrissie Wright 
Farm Owners

Richard originally from England and Chrissie for the Marlborough Sounds started their journey together following the traditional path of farm management, contract milking and 50/50 sharemilking.  In 1997 they invested in, and managed a successful equity partnership in Canterbury. After investing in other equity partnerships, which they still own today, they purchased their own farm in 2002.  They now own 2000ha near Mt Somers with 3 dairy units and are proud to have sharemilkers operating them.  Richard and Chrissie also operate a beef enterprise and the farm is totally self sufficient, grazing all the dairy replacements and wintering all dairy cows.

Trevor Gee 
MRB Consultant

Trevor has managed and developed a variety of different dairy farming systems in New Zealand, Ireland, and the UK. He has an excellent understanding of grassland management for profitable milk production. Trevor has a real passion for the dairy industry with areas of expertise in pasture management, reproduction, systems analysis and group facilitation.
Trevor has a wide range of skills and experience across the dairy industry which he uses to create solutions to problems he encounters on a daily basis, with a key focus on profit. Trevor lives near St Andrews in South Canterbury with his wife Trudy and two children Hannah and Sam. He enjoys mountain biking, hunting, fishing and exploring the harder to reach places in New Zealand


Creating the Value of Non-Replacements through Dairy Beef Programmes
Wednesday afternoon session

Alan McDermott
Pearl Veal

Alan is a partner in AgriFood Strategy Limited, a consultancy business working with farmers, agribusinesses and the wider agricultural industry on significant strategic issues, and to realise the potential of new opportunities. He focuses on issues such as value chain performance, meeting customer expectations, achieving change, ethics, sustainability and profitability. He is at his best when working at the interface of farmers, customers, the public and intermediaries along the value chain to collaboratively create honest food or fibre chains. Seeing people and businesses flourish is what gives him real satisfaction. Alan recently led the development of NZFAP and NAFAP Plus red meat assurance programmes.
Alan brings more than 20 years’ experience of working with and within agribusinesses in consulting, advisory, executive and governance roles right along the value chain and across the agricultural sectors in New Zealand and other regions including Asia, South America, North America and Europe.
A current significant project Alan is working on with business partner Julia Galwey is Pearl Veal - veal raised the way it should be raised - on fresh whole milk and pasture.

Daniel Carson

Daniel is the founder of Alps2Ocean Foods, a company established to add value to the red meat sector through unique brands and manufactured foods for export. A diverse background of relationship management and technology sales, followed by a decade of farm management provided unique insights into the untapped potential of how data, science and unique Aotearoa farming systems and landscapes can be used to meet market demand for sustainable, high quality and nutritious foods. With a passion for bull beef and an understanding of farm systems, Daniel is partnering with industry to create a new system and stock class that combines the production efficiency of lamb with the high value ingredient approach of milk powder through a high value ingredient that others can innovate from and scientifically proven as the most carbon efficient manufacturing beef available. Daniel and his team have created the all natural Mīti protein bar as the first demonstration use case for this unique to New Zealand manufacturing ingredient.

Dr Rebecca Hickson

Professor Rebecca Hickson is a cattle scientist with a special interest in dairy beef genetics and systems. She has a background in scientific research into beef, dairy and dairy-beef breeding and production and is now the Dairy Beef Development Manager at Fonterra.

Cameron Walker


Cameron Walker is the Pāmu General Manager for the Upper South Island region. In his role he oversees the Operational Management of 24 Farms, which includes 15 Dairy Farms milking 14,000 cows and 9 Livestock Farms running approximately 50,000 stock units that comprise a mix of Beef, Dairy Beef, Lamb Finishing and Dairy Grazing. 

Dan Brier
Beef + Lamb NZ

Dan has been the General Manager of Farming Excellence at Beef + Lamb New Zealand for five years – a role which encompasses research, product development & extension design and Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics. Dan grew up on sheep and beef properties before training as a veterinarian. After 6 years as a vet in Te Awamutu and Gisborne, Dan and his family began sheep and beef farming near Te Awamutu. In 2013, he started a role at Landcorp/Pamu overseeing the organisation’s northern and eastern North Island sheep and beef properties. Dan loves working for farmers and trying to help figure out ways to make their farm systems more successful.


Taking Your Career to the Next Level
Wednesday afternoon session


Michael Royston

Michael has 18 years banking experience and is the currently the ANZ bank Senior Manager of Corporate Agri Southern and the Ashburton Mid Canterbury Business team. Michael began his banking career in 2005 and has held rolls in the Waikato, Timaru and Ashburton areas with Methven being his hometown. Michael’s experience spans all sectors, and he farms in partnership with his immediate family, father & brother near Methven on their family cropping and lamb finishing operation.

Andrew Puklowski
Leech & Partners

Andrew is a Chartered Accountant at Leech and Partners in Ashburton. Having grown up on a 300 ha farm in the Manawatu, his bond with the rural sector began at a young age.  
Following the completion of a Bachelor of Applied Science at Massey University in the late 1990’s and a stint oversea, Andrew returned to New Zealand where he took up a role with ASB bank spending ten years as a Rural Bank Manager in Christchurch and Te Awamutu. At 36, Andrew decided it was time to change tack with his career, retraining as a Chartered Accountant. Now days he applies all his banking and accounting skills to ensure his clients gain the best possible financial outcomes.

Will Grayling

Will, along with his wife Kim are equity partners in a 3400 cow farm at Ashburton with a team of 17 people. Will started out managing 750 cows in 2008 and through stock ownership, Kim and Will built themselves into a position to become equity partners with Jim and Sue Van der Poel in an 1800 cow farm. Kim and Will believe in the value of win-win partnerships and the potential of the dairy industry, having grown both their shareholding in the farm as well as growing the size of the farming operation.

Jared Clarke

Jared grew up on a sheep and beef farm in South Otago, but after graduating from Lincoln University with a B.Ag.Sci (hons), he decided to enter the dairy industry. He started as a dairy assistant, working his way throught the ranks to farm manager, then equity manager, and now is a co-owners of their current farm. Together with his wife Victoria, two young children and his awesome farm team, they milk 1000 cows on 259ha at Valetta.
Outside of farming and family, Jared enjoys hunting, spearfishing, and playing squash.



Preparing Your business for a Natural Disaster
Wednesday afternoon session

Jonny Dingle

Jonny is a corporate account manager at FMG Insurance where he has worked for the past 14 years in client facing roles, with his current role taking him across the South Island looking after larger more complex clients. Prior to this he completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Commerce and Marketing at Lincoln University and more recently he and his wife Georgie purchased farm near Culverden where they are enjoying being back in a rural community with their two young children. Jonnys experience of working with and learning from his clients, and navigating through some of rural New Zealand’s largest natural disasters has given him a unique perspective on insurance and risk.

Al Lawn
Selwyn District Council

Al is the Emergency Manager at Selwyn District Council. Al will talk about his experience as an Emergency Manager through all the recent major natural disasters in the last 10 years. He will present data on the long-term outlook for natural weather events and what the effect the alpine fault line will have on the South Island should we have a major earthquake.


David Le Heron
Canterbury Dairy Farmer


David will talk about his experience with the Ashburton River floods and how his farm was affected and how he went about repairing the damage. David will recall what he did in the days following the event and the months after. He will give us his experience with his insurance company and any changes he made after the event.


Please Note: The views presented at SIDE are the opinions of the individual speakers and are not necessarily shared by the SIDE organising committee or supporting organisations. Given the general nature of some of the views and information presented at SIDE, and the fact that every participant’s individual circumstances are different, SIDE participants should not act solely on the basis of the material presented at the event, but should obtain specific advice according to their own circumstances.