August 2019

Embrace the Change

There is a saying that “Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

As the Government progresses legislation to set emission and carbon sequestering targets there is a lot of angst and frustration in our farming communities.  I want to put your mind at rest but first I want to remind you ever so nicely that I have been predicting this situation for several years now.  To your credit, many of you have heeded my warnings and have gone some way to changing your farming strategies in the expectation that this day would come but you good people are very much in the minority.

But for some others in the rural community, don’t be afraid of the pending change.  We can help you to meet those targets, believe it or not.  Let me explain, some are already meeting them and just as importantly for their families and their bank managers they are making more money.  The reason is simple – they are being more efficient and have cut out some wasteful practices.  When we were all exhorted to increase production dramatically, we were told we must put on more superphosphate, more nitrogen, feed palm kernel, make more silage plus grow more crops for stock food and graze stock off farm in the winter.

That is a big lot of should do’s and a big lot of money.  Those practices have become the norm and our cost of production has risen dramatically as a result.  Was that all necessary?  I think not and I said so at the time.  However, we did get more milk and we did get more beef and we did get more deer and sheep meat but not enough to cover all those costs.

So, let’s begin the remedies that will make you more money.  Those remedies are not expensive, therefore there is no disaster scenario here as some have been predicting.  You may drop off the odd stock unit, but you will not lose production.  You will embrace the new strategies gradually so you will not get stressed.  Most farmers have brought in a few new species into their pastures like plantain and chicory and we will stick with that and maybe add a bit more so the animals are now eating a ‘salad’ instead of lettuce day in and day out. That gets emissions down just by doing that.  Drop the fertiliser back a bit and save again.  Use some new technology and apply nitrogen in liquid form and save 70% on that nasty bill, add some microbes (soil life/biology) into the soil and that brings the carbon up a notch and already things are beginning to look rosy.  Once you have done these very simple things and seen the results for yourself then you will move on to the other culprits that are costing dearly and adding to the emissions.

But my message here is do not fret, do not worry and do not let your friends and neighbours talk doom and gloom to you.  This country needs you and our economy needs what you produce now more than ever, and the Government knows that.  They have given us a target to meet so let’s embrace change and make it our friend.

Our representatives will help you through this process, so give them a call.

John Barnes, Managing Director