The need to make a cash profit rather than relying on ‘un-taxed’ capital gains has Sam Sherrard thinking about another game of cricket with his neighbours.

Apart from a stormy period over Christmas at our house, it’s turned into a scorching summer. According to NIWA, Hamilton the Waikato’s cosmopolitan centre, was the first city to hit 50 days over 25C this summer. All accompanied, I am sure, by the Tron’s delightful 900% humidity.

An air-conditioned office certainly holds some appeal at times like this. In Ngaroma, although a pinch cooler than our Hamiltonian friends, it has been delightful school holidays weather, just not so good for growing grass.

We have just dialled in a couple of loads of palm kernel, hoping Cyclone Oma does not make like ‘oma rapeti’ and run away. If it does we will be staring down the barrel of an earlier-than-planned dryoff – hopefully not beating the St Patrick’s Day end of the season back in the 2008 Waikato drought.

Day after sunny day certainly makes you grateful to be on a farm with trees in most paddocks. The provision of shade is an issue the dairy industry needs to start confronting – preferably before outside regulations are introduced. Trees don’t grow overnight so it is certainly something to consider as we approach the autumn/winter planting season. Not only do the cows appreciate the trees, the aesthetic value can’t be underestimated.

To make the most of the superb weather and our local hall and field we decided to hold some community cricket. Plenty of drinks breaks were taken and a water slide for the younger kids was a real hit. Plans have already been made for a ‘rematch’. One perhaps I will be sitting out due to what I think was a spectacular jump and crash over the pig tail and tape boundary fence. To top off my weekend the next day barely able to walk, I found myself crawling through the creek to check then retrieve the submersible.

The pump was performing about as well as my aforementioned knee – my suspicions of its death throes were confirmed once the engineer made it out, complete with the wrong pump – his one had two extra phases. Being 50 kilometres from town certainly has its downsides at times like this. Eventually the right pump was delivered and installed and the tanks were filling again.

Despite the payout looking reasonable there is a decidedly uncertain feeling pervading the dairy industry. A quick scan of the social media will show contract milkers leaving in droves, while this does provide opportunity, undoubtedly we are losing vital experienced operators.

In the Waikato the impending Plan Change One leaves the future and value of many farms in jeopardy. Much has also been made of the industry’s inability to reduce debt even after this relatively buoyant stretch. As an industry we don’t seem to have taken on board the message that we need to make a cash profit instead of relying on ‘un-taxed’ capital gains.

It is not uncommon to hear of farmers being offered the same money they paid four or even 10 years ago. If flat land values are to become the norm we need to find ways to cope and adapt.

Changing your farm system to make large cash profits might not achievable for you or your farm, but one thing we all can do is better appreciate what farming can deliver. A stable home and address in today’s renting and homeownership environment is worth far more than the 10 grand or so that we have become accustomed to apportioning to it. Make the most of your time. A relief milker every second weekend or even every weekend will have little impact on your yearly budget, but the impact on your quality of life could be immense.

So while gains can be made by diversifying your income, easier more meaningful gains can be made by diversifying your outcomes.

Perhaps taking some time and having a painful game of cricket with your neighbours!