Hemp keeps the glass ovderflowing

Blair Drysdale spills a little milk but makes sure it’s glass half-full.

In Home Block5 Minutes

Blair Drysdale spills a little milk but makes sure it’s glass half-full.

A NEW YEAR, A GREAT HOLIDAY AND the glass overflowing with positivity for what lies ahead. It’s easy to get bogged down with the current goings on and be a bit negative about anything and everything. But just put to one side for a minute, Covid, overarching and poorly drafted proposed legislation, our arrogant and naïve Government, protests and a speaker of the house who’s tone deaf and is behaving like a petulant child……. (deep breath) and it’s not all bad.

As food producers we’ve had relative freedom of movement throughout this crisis, the ability to continue working in the great outdoors, commodity prices have been relatively strong (barring strong wool) and we still have our businesses with the door still open.

There are definitely some severe corrugations on the road ahead with our production input costs, minimum wages rising again and a Government still printing money, which is all driving inflation to a 30-year high. Hopefully these are all short-term issues, some of which can be changed with a change of Government next September, definitely something to look forward to.

Harvest got underway on January 10 with the oil seed rape which yielded well given its establishment battles last autumn.

The barley was just an average yield and then it was a stunning crop of autumn-sown oats that met its maker with a 9.4 tonne to the hectare yield. As I write, we’re having a frustrating wheat harvest due to average weather but the yields are amazing. The wheat harvest will be interrupted with the hemp and camelina needing to be harvested as they are both time-critical due to bird pressure. You can only keep thousands of sparrows at bay for so long with a gas gun and a shotgun.

Our hemp crops have been hit hard by very large rainfall events the last two seasons, so it’s really satisfying to have nailed establishment this year and to have a stunning looking crop this season which should yield a lot of nutritious seed.

The hemp is what keeps our glass overflowing here with its potential and some exciting projects and prospects on the horizon for Hopefield Hemp. We certainly understand the frustrations and limitations of the commodity based industries where we’re all just price takers.

I’m not sure I’d still be farming if it wasn’t for the hemp and a direct link to the consumer. Producing food for the ungrateful masses is a tough gig sometimes, but as a nation we’re bloody good at it and should be proud of that.

What really frustrates me is the unabated sale of productive sheep and beef units to corporates, both national and international, to be planted into Pinus radiata for carbon forestry. Seemingly the powers that be think carbon credits, or money changing hands as it really is, is somehow going to solve global atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

If anyone can explain to me how money has ever solved and will ever solve problems like this, then I’m all ears. Because to be perfectly honest I think the whole scheme is a complete have that will just cost us huge amounts of money and solve nothing. All while developing nations continue burning colossal amounts of coal and contribute the largest amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

My advice to those that are being surrounded by plantations of pines, sort out your fire plan, fire breaks, escape routes and firefighting capabilities, because we are only a decade from large-scale disasters on this front.

Anyway, it’s time to go and fetch the milk bottle from the fridge to top my glass back up given I’ve spilt a fair bit while writing this. Many thanks to all our environmentally friendly and hard-working dairy farmers for putting in the effort getting that milk to our fridge.