The first round of judging began Monday of Maori dairy farmers vying to win the Maori Excellence in Farming Award.
There are two judging panels for the Ahuwhenua Trophy. Over the next two weeks one panel of four will visit the properties of all entrants and choose three finalists. The other panel will then visit each finalist and decide on the winner.
Judge Peter McGregor says it is a rigourous process with an important category being the sustainability of each farm.
He says the judges will look closely at land environment plans, effluent management, soil erosion, riparian management of waterways and what methods farmers use to minimise nutrient leaching.