After a record season, South Otago sharemilker Mark Chamberlain is getting prepared for the arrival of calves.

The fuse is lit. In fact, the countdown till the start of calving was already on, as soon as the last cow dried off at the end of May. June has been a great month to catch our breath or, if you’re up with the new-age jargon, decompress.

It is also a great time to reflect on a tricky season, one that ended up being a record year for production – go figure. Tricky in the sense that we grew more grass in May than we had for the entire months of January and February. If there is one thing I have learnt about the dry period, it is that running around for two months like a mad man, doesn’t increase the milk solids in the vat. But being prepared certainly does.

The thought of the upcoming spring, and the arrival of calves, is made easier by a phrase used by the All Blacks, taken from the SAS: “Walk towards the pressure”. It is the acceptance of something big coming, being prepared and enacting your best-laid plans; because it is going to happen.

My 10-year-old daughter, Pippa, asked me the other day what I liked about the spring. I gave what I thought to be a considered reply. I said I enjoyed a fresh start to each season where we could focus on getting the cows off to a healthy, productive start which flows into a successful mating.

I also told her it was a chance to implement or refine new ideas. This is the first year we have teat sealed the heifers, so we are interested to see if that is money well-spent. I told Pippa that it is important that her Dad doesn’t become a ‘dairying dinosaur’ and that I am always looking for new ways of getting the best out of the cows and the farm. I asked her what she loves about the spring, she replied “I just love the calves”. Ahh, the simplistic innocence of youth.

Climate change arguments are doing the rounds and, of course, the agricultural sector is the proverbial punching bag yet again. An almost obsessive focus is the methane gas released by cows. Never mind that the amount of methane expelled yearly by New Zealand is replicated in China in a matter of hours.

I don’t want to start a ‘whataboutism’ argument… but I will. What about the raw sewage discharged (legally and with consent) into the Mataura River and Invercargill Estuary by both Gore and Invercargill townships? Not to mention the 200 reported raw sewage discharges in the last three years in the pristine Central Lakes District. An educated guess tells me some of this waste is coming from Fish and Game officers, elected representatives and Green Party members’ respective (if not respected) bottoms. Oh, the hypocrisy.

Let’s have the tough discussion.

If we are serious about reducing emissions, let’s address the 10,000 aircraft in the air globally at any one time. Limits on tourism, immigration and family sizes would all be on the table. Maybe fewer travel perks for our politicians would be good leadership from our, oft proclaimed “ambitious for New Zealand” Prime Minister. We can all do something, no doubt. But haven’t we always?

I realise dairy farming and its products are not for everyone. And, to be fair, it does have its issues – issues we are certainly making progress in addressing. But seriously, the inability of the ‘woke left’ to ignore the facts and to not see their own hypocrisies, has sadly left them, Factose intolerant.