After a nightmare spring, Blair Drysdale is looking forward to taking a product they’ve produced onfarm in Balfour, northern Southland, directly to the consumer – hemp seed oil.

Me: “Well we won’t get another spring as bad as the last one of 2018”.

Spring 2019: “Hold my beer…”

And that ladies and gentlemen sums up the spring we’ve just had, an absolute nightmare and a gift that kept on giving all bundled into one.

September wasn’t overly bad, just a bit cold all month with very little sunshine which resulted in a massive feed deficit for dairy and sheep farmers alike at calving and lambing time respectively. I managed to get a bit of primary ground preparation done for the cereals, but the soil was barely ready for working with the lack of heat to warm and dry it out. Patience I told myself, well boy oh boy was that theory tested to the maximum.

October was like one I hadn’t seen before, if it wasn’t pouring with rain, it was blowing it’s arse off from a generally southerly direction with a dose of Antarctica thrown in for good measure.

A normal October here has its fair share of rain, but normally comes with ample howling nor-westers that dry the soil out in a very respectable time frame so that work can commence. A mere two spraying stints and one day drilling barley were the only real achievements for the month, my frustration levels were at an all-time high and Jody was sick of hearing about it. It is however a month that sets us up well for the season when we get plenty of moisture and by the end of the month, we were struggling to keep on top of the pasture growth and all the stock were bathing in ample grass.

For us to still have the fire going in the house mid-November is unheard of and gives you a good idea of how long it took for spring to pull its damned head in. But by the middle of the month all the cereals were in the ground and right now are looking very good, especially in comparison to this time last year when they were drowned out due to daily thunder plumps and all but written off.

The winter feed is now all in the ground, with the only remaining seed to go in being the hemp which will go in around December 12. The seed from the hemp crop we planted last year was harvested back in April and has now been pressed, some bottled, the rest capsuled, packaged and after a year of hard work is now in the market place online at (shameless plug!) that went live on November 20. There’s been a lot of fantastic people who’ve been a big part of this getting off the ground and if you’re one of them reading this, thank you! You know who you are.

It’s been a dream for Jody and I since we went farming in our own right and was cemented when I took part in the Rabobank Farm Managers Programme (FMP) in 2015, to take a product we’ve produced onfarm directly to the consumer. It’s taken a while to get to that point, but we’ve finally achieved it, although that doesn’t necessarily mean success just yet. And I can’t stress enough that if you’ve got a dream, then get on and pursue it, don’t give up as it’s not easy and use your detractors as a source of motivation.

So now that everything is finally up to date on farm, I’m going to leave it in the capable hands of Jody and Dad while I head over the ditch to Aussie on a series of farm tours with a now good mate that I met on the FMP I spoke of before.

Gavin runs a large onion, carrot and potato-growing operation near Port Gawler, 40 minutes northwest of Adelaide and has a farm tour of a lifetime planned for me. We’re off to look at other vegetable operations, citrus, pistachio, almond, table grapes, vineyards and livestock throughout South Australia and New South Wales which I’m looking forward to no end. Just not so sure that my liver is though!

The past year getting our hemp venture off the ground has been one of learning, extreme levels of frustration and enough bureaucracy to drive us to near insanity. But it’s also been extremely rewarding and satisfying knowing our product is helping people towards better health and living.

There’s no time like the present to kick start your own long held dream, so get on and do it.