Hemp has brought new business to Blair Drysdale’s Northern Southland operation.

When I wrote my last column back on December 5, we had not even heard of Covid-19, now it and the Government rigidly rule our everyday lives like nothing most of us have known before.
Our last outing pre-Covid was at the Wanaka Show where we were in the Rabobank tent with our Hopefield Hemp range of products and I must say I was slightly anxious about being on the sales side of the desk for only the second time in my life, the first being a part time shoe salesman while at school in Dunedin during the weekends.
But my anxiety disappeared quickly as Jody and I met many new people and had the privilege of telling them our story and that of our products, while also meeting existing clients and getting some heart-warming feedback hearing how hemp has improved their lives.
Life onfarm since lockdown has been testing to be honest, although we as food producers are incredibly lucky compared to some and my heart goes out to them. With my parents isolating in Queenstown and a mate who helps me out with harvest after his normal day’s work no longer being able to come onfarm, it was down to Jody and myself for harvest, stock work, seeding and everything else that needed done, not to mention becoming teachers all of a sudden. It dawned on me very quickly that this was not going to be easy.
I don’t normally feel the pressure too much or get at all stressed, but I felt both before too long. However, I seem to achieve more when I am under a bit of pressure (yes, I’m once again writing this at the 11th hour) and with some long hours and very testing days, this proved true once again.
Harvest was only an average one that finished on April 29 which is the latest ever for me and all bar 20 hectares of cereals has been sown out and is now looking good, so I’m happy enough with where we got to given the circumstances.
We have lacked sunshine hours here badly since the beginning of the year which is extremely unusual for us here in Northern Southland and it has certainly had an impact on feed levels all the way through. With still having a lot of store lambs onfarm at the beginning of April due to space issues at the works, all our pastures got 65kg of urea applied and the winter crops two extra applications of UAN to push growth along to give us the extra feed buffer we knew we’d need.
We are now in a particularly good feed situation all round now but have taken on hogget grazing rather than buying another unit load of store lambs because of the uncertainty of prices in the spring.
On the Saturday night of Wanaka show we attended a surprise function for the wonderful editor of this publication, the man himself Terry Brosnahan. And it was without doubt a surprise to Terry as he may have been slightly under-dressed – his lovely wife Eleanor couldn’t quite convince him to change out of his shorts!
It was a great evening and a pleasure to meet everyone who was able to make it. I always find it so refreshing being around like-minded people you don’t know and chewing the fat with them over a few beers. Many thanks to Charlotte Rietveld for organising it.
Even though we’re only halfway through the year, I’d like to flush the dunny on most of it already and I’d love to have a serious chat to the scriptwriter of 2020. On my way home from our family holiday I got a phone call from my mother, one I will never forget. A lifelong friend that I’ve known since we were both in nappies had died suddenly of a heart attack, childhood memories came flooding back and will never be quite the same now. A hard-working man who would yarn to anyone and give you the shirt off his back.
If you are not feeling yourself, please see a doctor people.
Rest in peace Tim.