A combination of international virus effects and staff holidays left Alex Lond almost single-handed on her Reporoa farm.

Just when you start to think you’re through the worst of it: the clouds have started to roll in on those summer days and for the first time in eight weeks your rain gauge reads 15mm three nights in a row (a small squeak of excitement escapes me as I write this), the world throws a curve ball.

I’m promising now that this article will not be filled with the C word that overwhelms every news bulletin in the country, as I’m sure you’re all sick to death of hearing about it, but it would be silly not to address the change that Covid-19 is having throughout the country.

For me personally and the farm, it means two members of staff in compulsory self-isolation for 14 days after they went on holiday to Australia at the beginning of March. This was an unprecedented bombshell as I now try to get everything done with my one remaining staff member, feeding out three times a day for two herds as well as the extra work March requires – re-grassing, culling decisions, herd testing, covering our 760-tonne freshly cut maize bunker (on possibly the windiest day of 2020 so far).

Fortunately for me the farm owners are very present and able to assist, but I’m sure this is not the case for many others.

Still, life goes on, and watching the situation worsen in Europe reminds me how lucky we are to be in the farming industry, where ‘working from home’ and ‘restricting interaction with the public’ is all part of our daily lives already.

It does make me sad that almost all of the DairyNZ events and discussion groups have been cancelled, but this is no doubt a temporary precaution and just means there will be even more to talk about once things return to normal.

I was fortunate enough to still attend a couple of community events this month, the first one being my local Dairy Industry Awards dinner where I was in the running for manager of the year.

I came runner up, and received two merit awards for my feed management and livestock management, which was for me a greater achievement than second place as I pride myself on my focus on cow health and knowing exactly what I want them to be eating day to day, as the paddocks turn greener but growth rates continue to be slow. The second event I attended was the local Perrin Ag charity quiz night last week, raising money for the new St John’s Ambulance depot in Rotorua.

The event was a success and it was lovely to see so many friendly faces still out and about, raising money for charity and catching up with farmers and consultants from the area. Here my team was less successful, coming second to last (at one point we were gunning for last place), but I was still so glad we were fortunate enough to attend before stricter rules were enforced.

I hope farmers continue to support each other as tougher times loom and that we can all recognise and appreciate what a privilege it is to be working in a job that means we cannot simply just stop with the rest of the world; we must carry on, providing the essential foods for our communities to help get them through these tough hours of uncertainty.