Warning: perfectionist in the paddocks

In a deep and meaningful conversation with our farm consultant, he told me I think too much and he’s right. Like my father before me and his before him, I was born to worry and my way of dealing with that trait is to really know my material. This can be very useful when you’re in a business like dairy farming that typically makes a 1 to 2 percent return.

It can also be a very destructive trait, however, if it boils over into a perfectionistic control-freak manifestation. There is no place for a control freak in Australian dairy farming – you are at the mercy of the weather, everything else Mother Nature can throw at you, international commodity prices and exchange rates.

You have to resign yourself to your fate to a degree and then (if you’re a worrier like I am) start researching your way out of trouble.

The great thing about dairy farming is that we are very good at sharing our ideas. I’ve walked around countless farms on field days, soaking up the freely-offered knowledge of farmers and technical experts. Farmers often are happy to tell you as much about their failures as their triumphs.

Feeling alone while under real physical and emotional pressure can be dangerous: another great reason to attend all those field days, where the unsaid but crucial take-home message could well be “thank goodness I’m not the only idiot dealing with this @#$%”.