Learn to farm at the next level.

By changing your mind-set you can farm at the next level.  It takes some time but it is well worth it.

A quote I read went something like this “it is not how fast you are that determines your fitness but how well you recover”. This is very relevant right now especially after the psychological warfare farmers put themselves through dealing with finances, staff, weather, animal welfare and in some cases even earthquakes.

The one great thing about being under stress, whether physical, mental or emotional, is that it conditions your body and mind. Once you have done something you have the knowledge and skill to to better next time.  The secret to this is the recovery period. If you are like me you will cram your training into short block periods and expect to be competitive but in actual fact my body is still trying to recover when going into an event. The only upside is that psychologically I have an edge because I am constantly under stress.

If you feel like you are getting nowhere and are even wondering why you are in the business at all there are things you can do to get you at peak fitness going into the new year. There are plenty of things you can do to help change but here are 5 things you can do right now.

  1. Positive recovery. We are talking mental and emotional recovery here. You need it and the only way to get it is to change your mind-set and begin living every day with an optimistic and positive outlook. Acknowledge the skills you have learnt from being under adversity. Simply making a pact with yourself to have fun today goes a long way to recovery.
  2. Train your mind. What you say? Why should I train for farming I know everything? Heads up you don’t. You have no idea what you don’t know. Recover your mind and set your vision for your business. Mentally ride through the highs and lows before you even get to them. Visualise your staff happy and skillful, feel the glow of satisfaction sitting in a staff meeting knowing your team has done everything they can to get you through a tight spot. Remember you trained them.img_9597
  3. Partner with winners. They don’t have to be in farming. Sport and recreations is full of winners. Even if they are back of the pack they have an energy you want to tap into.
  4. Get off the damn farm and get your staff off it as well. 24/7 farming was yesterday. Stubborn farmers who think they cannot leave the farm because the world will crumble do not make good leaders. You want proficient staff not just a robot to work a certain hourly wage. Your staff reflect your leadership. Keep energised and it will reflect in the way you treat your staff.
  5. Get aerobically fit. All the above will not happen if you rely on sugary energy drinks to get energy boosts. Here’s a fact – farmers do not burn enough calories to warrant drinking energy drinks. Simply getting some daily aerobic exercise builds your capacity to manage stress and fatigue far greater than any sugar boost. I am not saying never drink that rubbish but just don’t rely on it, unless it is a can of coke on the last 30min of ride before a group sprint #rocketfuel.

Change your mind-set and watch the world around you change as well. Your family and friends won’t annoy you so much. your world will open up as you meet new people. Feel inspired and feel energetic and above all have some fun today.

Share this with your friends and enemies because without both we cannot grow


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Don’t cheat on your preparation

No matter how good you are if you cheat on preparation when the times get tough you will be found wanting. Make training the hard bit and if you get it right you can reap the benefits.

I had plenty of time to mull this over during the K2 cycle race at the end of October. This an event that you simply cannot take a shortcut in your preparation because it will hurt you in more ways than one. There is nothing quite so disturbing as fighting a head wind down the Thames coast on your own after you have dropped off a pack because you cheated the hill training or long rides in your preparation, and you still have 80kms to ride.

Good sports teams usually fit the Preparation = Performance mantra into their team ethos so should we introduce this into farming?

Good crop prep = high yields and high yields mean more milksolids or weightgain, good mating prep = good submission rates and good submission rates means higher profit, Good financial prep = strategic knowledge which means increased profit or equity gain, Good physical prep = personal ability to work through the tough times and stay on the front foot.


There is no easy ride to the top.

We can always bullshit our way through the good times, (the short races) and good weather patterns but as soon as the weather extremes hit (The tough events) or commodity prices crash cracks begin to appear and all hell breaks loose.  If you haven’t done the preparation for the hard times then prepare to suffer.

It is never too late to begin preparation for an event whether personal or in your business and no one has ever regretted being over prepared. If you think you might be in for a tough time then begin preparation now and set yourself up to ride it out when it happens.

Embrace the challenge ahead and prepare yourself to win.

Share this with your friends and enemies because without either we wouldn’t improve.

Ian Handcock

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Being Competitive is good for you

Who remembers growing up and competing against your mates or others at home or in the school yard?

You may or may not have come out on top but either way and without realising it you were learning, getting stronger, smarter and becoming more durable. Competition has been around for ever  it is part of evolution and is also the reason many humans to continue playing sports until their ripe old age. Competitive people love the adrenaline, the strategy, tactics and internal fight that problem solving brings.

But how does competition help you in farming or any business for that matter?

Whether you are the boss or apprentice, your competitiveness plays a big part in determining how successful you are in your job. The more competitive you, are the better your stickability and more likely you are to go the extra mile to solve tough problems and help others out when they need it. It doesn’t necessarily make you a better than the person beside you, the true competitor is humble in victory and gracious in defeat.

Years ago during farm discussion groups we called out anyone who dished up suspect farm data, we tested theories and tried to get one over our neighbour. It created a healthy competitive environment and people learnt a great deal.



Time trials – the ultimate hate on your body.

We need to get that competitiveness back if we want to survive in farming. Recently the Northern part of New Zealand has gone through the worst spring in close to 30 years but farmers, competitive by nature, refused to give in and battled some depressive times. Those who refused to be beaten brought in fresh eyes for advice, gave staff time off, put cows onto OAD and looked after themselves because being competitive also means working strategically to get the result you want.

So if you find yourself or your staff getting a bit complacent take up a sport like squash or cycling that’s easy on the body and get that competitive streak back in you. Get some adrenaline coursing through your veins. Go back to your farm discussion group and beat the benchmark. You will be surprised how much you missed it.

Share this with your friends and enemies because without either we wouldn’t get better.

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