Welcome to 2020.

Step through the sliding door, eat a pill for dinner and be wrapped into your climate-controlled suit.

Sounds like something out of a science fiction movie to those of us old enough to remember 1984, the Y2K bug and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

If you are one of those who feel cheated that we are not flying around in Jetsons-style flying cars, take heart that that technology actually exists – apparently the problem is that futurists haven’t cracked the problem of how to control the whole world’s airspace and prevent multi-car pileups and falldowns!

And hold on, things will change more in the next 10 years than they have in the past 20 years.

Some of the change will worry us, judging by Anna Campbell’s outlook on p40 – where she has read a couple of pretty scary reports, but has some advice for policymakers and marketers and is confident of Kiwi farmers’ ability to respond to challenges.

But just when the problems of the world seem insurmountable, clever and innovative people start to change and evolve and solve problems.

Modelling done for Campbell and Martine Tait on their largely self-contained Canterbury dairy farm shows they should be able to slash nitrate (N) leaching and improve profitability all without cutting cow numbers (p22). Carbon emissions drop 10% also – the kind of reduction demanded under the Zero Carbon Act by 2030.

Changes to milking timing hold great potential to take pressure off farm staff – give them back their weekends even. For an update on Brent Boyce’s milking frequency research, he has written an expert piece for us (p49) and we profiled Ben and Nicky Allomes who are thrilled with their first season totally “two and one” – milking twice one day and once the next (p62). Their farm team love it too and the profit from driving out costs is certain to negate the 2.5% drop in milksolids produced, Ben says.

With the payout looking positive for next season, put some thought into coming on the Dairy Exporter Tour to Ireland incorporating the Pasture Summit in June 2020. A precis of the itinerary is on page 74, and the full details can be found at nzfarmlife.co.nz/upcoming events. There will be heaps to learn about pasture-based farming, adapting to change, marketing your enviro credentials and remaining relentlessly positive in the low carbon world – and a few pubs to visit too!

We would love to have you along.

Jackie Harrigan