I’ve never lived through a worldwide pandemic before, so forgive me if I am unsure of what to do next.

Do we go back to business as usual? Flying around the country and the world in a ridiculously blase manner, buying fast fashion that lasts a stupidly short amount of time before we dump it in a charity shop, driving everywhere in a fossil-fuel fuelled rage, buying too much food and then wasting 30% because we didn’t get around to eating it and locking ourselves in our gated communities to keep out the less-privileged because we are afraid of opening our doors to them. Seems like a crazy lifestyle when you reflect on it.

I would rather bounce forward – move to a more considered lifestyle, less rushed, less wasteful and less plastic filled with a smaller carbon footprint. Our new Milking Platform Taranaki contributor Trish Rankin agrees, saying she is looking forward to a new way – of communicating, of not travelling so much to events and meetings, of online shopping – saving time, saving carbon, cutting waste (pg10).

It’s a delicious thought that we could destress, simplify and decarbonise our lives in the same forward bounce? Farmers are all about looking forward – you are always focused on the next season, and to help refresh on the biggest game in town, calving, we have put together a 40-plus page special report on growing great calves. (pg38) We have talked to vets, farm consultants, nutritionists, top rearers and farmers and the same messages came through – the importance of treating your calves like the valuable babies they are – demanding the best care, best colostrum, best shelter and health plans and processes.

Those great calves will grow into great heifers that are capable of performing at an optimum level in your herd, or into valuable beef animals, so are absolutely worth putting a lot of thought and care into, alongside the animal welfare requirements.

Throughout the special report we have made reference to a series of videos made by Farmlands at top calf rearing farms – they are packed with best practice tips and tricks, so make sure you check them out. On our electronic version of the magazine, those video links will be live, so easy to just click through.

Jackie Harrigan