After a recent field day, Mark Guscott is asking the question: Do farmers value their time?

Do you value your time? In my experience there are heaps of farmers who don’t. I went to a field day to learn from a cocky who was doing a good job of wintering cattle. He fed them a lot of balage and hay and was asked, “how does that amount of feeding-out stack up financially?”.

He replied that it didn’t cost him anything as the grass grew for free and he owned his own baler! Well, the language in my mind was colourful and I straight away lost concentration. This was unfortunate on my part as he was doing a good job overall. I guess his rationale was that once the payments on the baler were finished then it didn’t owe him anything. Fair call, but what about the diesel for the tractor, the person driving that tractor or the maintenance on the baler?

The point is that what we do every day is important and worthwhile. We should value what we do. The cocky was doing a good job but he needed to account for the wage or drawings that he feeds his family with. There are some that would say that any profit made is payment, but when the coffers are empty at the end of the year, it wouldn’t be very encouraging to think ‘I’ve worked hard all year for nothing’. What we do to look after our land, our animals and our people is bloody important. While sometimes it might not feel like it, there are a lot of people out there who value what we do.

I usually think June is the worst month as the days are getting shorter, the mud is building up around the gateways and spring seems like a long way away. However, this June and June 2020 were warm with excellent pasture growth – if this is global warming, sign me up!

With July came winter – we had some hard frosts last week but we’re well set up for the spring and our ewes are due to be spread out for lambing soon. First lambs should start appearing during the first week of August – hopefully not at the same time as a nasty southerly. As a winter lamb finisher, it’s exciting times watching the schedules going crazy. Thankfully we have managed to get our numbers up to our normal level as the autumn was a bit tricky. It felt a bit expensive buying lambs well north of $150 but we’ll hopefully hit $200 for the lambs that are going tomorrow, so I’m feeling pretty positive about life at the moment, I hope you are too.

The kids have just started school holidays and we’ve got a long list of jobs on the fridge for them to do. Nothing has been ticked off as yet. Susannah and I seem to be battling against technology constantly at the moment – it’s a real fight. Suz and I versus YouTube, Minecraft and the kids. The problem is the kids are quite smart and can argue the point well so I often just grumble something like “because I said so” loudly. Hopefully they grow up to be well-adjusted adults. My daughter Liv is making a cake at the moment so maybe I should stop being a grumpy bastard.

Remember your value, keep the long gumboots handy for a bit longer and good luck for the rest of winter.