It’s been a crazy weather month – from blood red skies due to the Australian bushfires, to drought and 40C days in the north alongside a metre of rain at Milford and extensive flooding in Southland.

Extreme weather events are forecast to become more intense and frequent – are you ready? Do you have liquidity in your budget to remediate your property and the resilience to cope?

“You can’t be green unless you are in the black” is a saying that has been bandied about for the past few years, since pressure has come on dairy farmers to address environmental concerns. Turns out you can’t do much if you are not in the black!

This month our special report focuses on profitability, so important in an era of slow or non-existent capital gains on land values. All farmers need to be profitable to give themselves options – options to fence off waterways and plant them, options to invest in new infrastructure to meet regulatory requirements, options to increase their resilience in the face of changing climates, options for holidays and more staff to work on their work/life balance.

So how to do it? We have lined up some experts who help answer the question of what to really focus on. Interestingly experts say the most profitable farmers don’t just focus on one aspect – they need to have clarity of purpose, set goals, a clear plan to get there and then monitor those steps of the plan, DairyNZ farm systems specialist Paul Bird says (p43).

Bankers, too, are very interested in farmers targeting and working relentlessly towards higher profitability. ANZ southern general manager for commercial and agribusiness Mark Grenside says two factors of top performers stand out – taking personal responsibility and discipline (p47). Read about the top 10 attributes of profitable dairy farmers on page 45. Number four on that list is pasture management – a top priority.

If you want to learn more about prioritising pasture – growing more, eating more, using it more efficiently, think about jumping on the Dairy Exporter Tour to Ireland, incorporating the Pasture Summit 2020 conference. The June tour includes the Cork-based two-day summit and visits to numerous top-performing pasture-focused farms alongside iconic Irish tourist spots. Read more about the tour at www.nzfarmlife. and register now. It will be great craic!

With a high number of dairy farms for sale, and few buyers around able to access the finance necessary to buy their first farm, Anne Hardie brings us a great story of the growth and opportunities in equity partnerships. It’s a win:win, exiting farmers can leave money in at a higher interest rate and young farmers with a limited equity stake can secure a share in a farming partnership – as a step towards farm ownership, with the added benefit of accessing the IP from the outgoing owners (p24).

Regenerative agriculture is another term being bandied around a lot lately, we have Jacqueline Rowarth’s take on it on page 40, where she puts the case that New Zealand has been practicing regenerative agriculture for years, our soils do not really need regenerating, but we do need to go hard on sustainable agriculture, that is where our advantage lies (p40).

Jackie Harrigan