Sunday, 10 March 2013

On a Pasture based Dairy Farm The Sky is Always Blue

The sky is always blue! This is NOT a reference to the lack of rain in Australia & New Zealand. The dairy industry is a place of optimism and opportunities. In every crisis there is both danger and opportunities. The key is to see the opportunity! Believe me the sky is always blue! Pasture based dairy farming is a place of optimism!

Every time I fly the sky is always blue! From the ground it may not seem to be. It’s easy to get pessimistic. Even as the aircraft takes off you are not absolutely sure. But it is always very reassuring to experience that joy of breaking through the clouds. Dark as the clouds might seem. The sky is always blue!  The sky is always blue is a glass half full attitude!

The Chinese symbol for crisis cleverly includes both danger and opportunity. Don’t dismiss the danger and the threats but look for the upside risk, the opportunities to learn, to make decisive moves and to benefit from a crisis.

The world seems to be having these extreme weather events. Remember the 2012 drought in the USA & Canada. 2012 delivered endless rain and mud in the UK, making pasture management a nightmare. The hot dry summer of 2013 in NZ & Australia is now creating desperate feed shortages on most dairy farms. Farmers have little control over these events but there impact can be massive.

There is a huge risk that these events can be very costly. Beware of over spending on feed. Rather look to minimise the losses. Few people make money during dry periods but many lose money. Think ahead. What are you going to do when it does rain? How can you recover quickly with no carry over costs e.g. under feeding calves so that heifers are under target weights…..these carry over costs can impact 2-3 seasons ahead.

These extreme events cause much farmer stress. Farming men often don’t deal with stress very well. Men tend to retreat into their “man caves”. They go quiet and are reluctant to talk out their concerns. Whereas women tend to choose a much healthier path & confide in friends about what’s worrying them. Women don’t really understand “man caves”. 
Women struggle with their men in “Man Caves”.

I’ve learnt that “man caves” stress everyone & rarely solve any problems. “Man caves” in fact stress women and are grossly unfair to families. Don’t go there!

Every Dairy Farm has a “Magic Spot”. Farmers are so lucky to have “Magic Spots” on their farms. Somewhere that is truly magical. Somewhere that is quiet and you can reflect on how lucky you really are to be a dairy farmer. Dairy Farmers need to Spend Time at the “Magic Spot” on their Farm. The farm’s “Magic Spot” is a lovely place to be with your family. “Magic Spots” on farms are not “Man Caves” Don’t get confused!

Farming is an isolated profession. Farming can sap your every energy. However farming should never be your whole world. Men can be farmers but they are also fathers, sons, husbands, friends, mates, lovers, laughers, jokesters and team players. If a drought or floods seriously affect your farm you don’t want it bowling over your whole world. By saying that…… in no way am I underestimating the damaging impact of dryness or flooding can have on a farm business. 
Ask for help! Asking for help is a manly thing not a sign of weakness. Recognise if your man needs help.

It’s time to go to the beach. It’s time to go swimming with your children. It’s time or organise a game of beach volleyball with your Discussion Group. It’s time to watch the Kiwis give England a hiding in the Cricket Test Series. It’s time to take a break!