While out and about this morning feeding and shifting pigs I was thinking about things (nothing new there). Please don’t take this as a “pity me” post. It’s just my rambling thoughts.
The bulk of our income comes in at the start of the year after harvest. Last harvest wasn’t a great one so at this time of year every bill looks like a big one and you start wondering whether you’ll make it to harvest without discussions with the bank manager (again, and I’m sure we’re not on our own).
So, while I was walking and thinking, it struck me afresh that it is spending on inputs (mainly for cropping) that keeps us struggling because the one thing that makes the biggest difference to our income is something that is free, but we can’t control. Without timely rain it hardly matters what we do to “maximise yields” (a great catch cry in the world of agribusiness to sell desperate farmers more of their expensive product).
Today, on the first day of spring, when most people are possibly enjoying the fact that we’ve been having more sunshine and are looking forward to an endless supply of clear blue skies, please remember that farmers need rain. Crops need moisture and those with stock need pastures to be revitalised and water in dams.
It is very humbling to have your livelihood so in sync with weather patterns. It really makes you realise that no matter how much you know or think you can control there’s some pretty vital aspects at play that are completely out of your hands.
Light rain started falling last night a little before four o’clock. It was beautiful but at this point there has only just been enough to dampen the surface of the ground. As I walked in paddocks this morning when I lifted my boots the damp dirt clung to the sole and exposed the bone dry soil beneath. We really need steady soaking rain. When I say we I don’t just mean our farm, or farmers in general, I mean everyone that eats.
This week the temperatures have dropped back a little and there are chances of some showers with the odd storm. We’ll watch the weather on the national news and listen as the presenter bemoans the fact that last week’s clear blue skies have disappeared knowing that this week of clouds gives us renewed hope. When you look at those clouds this week and grab for your jumper again give a thought to farmers and say a prayer that they are getting the rain that they desperately need.