Scratching around in the dust not a productive way to farm

LYN WEBSTER
Last updated 09:41 18/02/2013

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Lyn Webster

Farming profits not for get-rich-quick investors Day off? Yeah right Sunny skies, growing grass makes for happy farmer Canine helper worth his weight New mother a force to be reckoned with Hard slog on a bog Many trials and rewards of going it alone So much for a cruisy day off Helicopter harassment a farmer's burden Calling the shots is liberating

Things were chugging along OK until recently. The rain came just in time and the grass kept growing. It's far from a record season but I was surviving.

But it has suddenly turned really dry, dry, dry . . . All the locals said it turned fast up here in the Far North and they weren't joking. There's a little drop of rain in tomorrow's forecast and maybe even a better chance on Monday. Hope so or I will be on the suicide round and it's not even the end of February.

And the bills keep rolling in.

I was lucky enough to quickly make some silage just after Christmas but I'm feeding that out already which is not the most cost-effective option but at least it is an option. I'm also fortunate that I can ring up for more Condensed Distillers Syrup whenever I want but on a $5.50 payout that is not affordable either. So what options are left - pray for rain. OK.

There must be something more you can do? I noticed the neighbour had few stock and rank grass so I cheekily asked him what he was up to. It pays to ask these things because I've ended up leasing an extra 20 hectares next door which adds another few days to my current round and gives me more options for next season. Hopefully I will be able to milk 20 or so more cows which should add to my much-needed profit.

On a non-farming note, Penguin commissioned me to write a book last year about our seriously low grocery budget and the recipes and techniques I have perfected which cut our household expenses down to almost nothing.

The book is called Pig Tits and Parsley Sauce - Slash your grocery bill by living sustainably. I have a publicist promoting the book for me and Stevie and I have had an exciting week that has included interviews for various papers and radio stations around New Zealand and an interview and photo shoot for a women's magazine. I'm also off to Auckland to do some TV work which includes a live appearance on Good Morning on February 20. Who would have thought that four years ago the drastic cuts I had to make to keep my little farming venture afloat would have led to this? My book is proving very popular and, of course, I think it's a must-have for all book shelves. Honestly, if I had thought to change my lifestyle that way 30 years ago instead of four years ago, I would be infinitely better off. My book will help you save money, lose weight and protect the environment. Who doesn't want to do those things?

If you are a young person with farm ownership as a goal then you will be able to cut your personal drawings right back and find thousands of dollars to put towards your farming aspirations. The book is attracting interest from the United States and Australia as well as around New Zealand and can be bought from my web site pigtitsandparsleysauce.co.nz or from any major book store.

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I also encourage you to join my Facebook page which is linked to the above web site. That's where you can keep up to date with what Pig Tits is up to and find heaps of fabulous recipe ideas and photos of things you can do around the home to cut back on waste while saving a few dollars.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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