Gus's Musings

June 11, 2013

Do you wallow in the trough?

This is something that I’m fairly conscious of as I have been guilty of this many times.  What I’m talking about is when things are tough (no rain or low prices etc.), or as a “chartist” would say you are in a trough.  Times like this it is very simple to fall into a routine of just doing “stuff”, working and not achieving, also not doing the important jobs when they are required.  There are very few places easier to do this than on a farm, there is always so much work to do you can just go out in the paddock, on your own and “do stuff” for days on end.

The work you should be doing is communicating to all the key business partners (Family, Bankers, stock agents, grain traders etc.) where you are at now, what are the future plans, what are the critical decision points, etc.  This is always hard as it involves facing the truth, fessing up to some wrong decisions and working through how we can help us, not someone else.

The attitude that I want to spend the most of my time in is “don’t care how we got here, how are we going to come out on top?”  In golf they call this “scrambling”, when you do a poor tee shot, end up in the trees/bunker/water and yet by summing up the situation you are able to salvage a par.  Without doubt the best opportunity for anyone is how they manage through tough times, for us droughts have been absolutely wonderful.

Some of the methods I use to try and keep my healthy state of mind are:

  • Establish good communication habits with my wife/parents and good mates
  • I minimise contact with people that can drag me down
  • Keep budgets up to date (grass & money)
  • Make sure that I have a project (normally fencing, because I love it) so you can see achievements.
  • Make sure that you have weekends off & holidays
  • Always try to be making decisions & moving forward, don’t get caught having decisions made for you, such as feeding stock because it is the only      option left.
  • Understand yourself and your families needs

I remember watching a car rally on TV, the driver took a corner badly and rolled a number of times, they showed footage of him in the car and while it was rolling he was going through the gears ready to “floor it” and get back on track as soon as it came on its wheels again.  That is the attitude I like to have!

We have made the biggest leap in our carrying capacity by retaining more litter through droughts, we have taken the time when we have less stock to seek training and we have built very strong relationships with our key business partners.  We have profited enormously from droughts on a personal, landscape and business level that has meant as soon as it rains we are in the right “space” to charge ahead sailing past others that are still wallowing in the trough.


Leave a Reply