Business Rural Winter 2022

| 33 MEAT & WOOL » Ray & Janette McCrostie Richard Loader Covid: ‘I went down like a ton of bricks’ Ray and Janette McCrostie weighing ewes on their Mokotua farm. A mob of ewes crossing Waituna Creek. For all your Agrichemical applications, get in touch with Spray Quip today! 027 226 5018 Proud to be associated with Ray & Janette McCrostie Seeking the wise counsel of Southland sheep and beef farmer Ray McCrostie is always a pleasurable experience. Laced with good humour his views on topical subjects make interesting grist for the mill. Ray and his wife Janette, a retired nurse, farm 145 effective hectares in Mokotua in southern Southland. The couple have always farmed a 50/50 partnership, though Ray quips that Janette will says it is 90/10 on her side. The farm is home to 960 Border Leicester/Romney cross ewes, with 1300 terminal sire lambs and 100 replacement ewe lambs. On average 25 - 30 calves are reared through to 22 months and go to local trade at 250 – 280kgs. Last season 400 bales of hay / baleage were sold from the farm’s paddocks. The couple’s two sons, Carl and Jason, along with their wives, Katie and Jenny, also live and work on the farm and are progressively buying more of the stock and land as part of farm succession. At 68 years young, Ray has been on the farm since his parents bought it when was 15, and he is now preparing for his 54th lambing season – not a bad innings. Just prior to Easter this year Ray was working with stock in the yards and had been feeling a little off colour. Finishing at 3.00pm his energy levels took a rapid dive – Covid-19 had arrived. Double vaxed, boosted, and reasonably t, healthy and active for his 68 years Ray hadn’t been at all concerned about getting Covid. “I was in the camp of bring it on – I’m either going to live or not and if I don’t die I will have a bit of immunity.” Covid had entered the family home through the McCrosties granddaughter who Janette was babysitting after school. When Janette got Covid it was just a matter of time till it ltered through. “It was two or three days later when Janette was coming out the other side that I went down like a ton of bricks. It was all very sequential. Carl and Katie and their two daughters got it, then Jason and Jenny along with their three daughters got it. The whole family went through this energy-less lethargic stage. “We were all struck at different times so if there was anything pressing that needed doing there was always someone there to help. If the legs had fallen off all of us at the same time it might have been different.” Vaccinated or unvaccinated, Ray reckons it doesn’t seem to make much difference, with people in the same household not always catching it. “Was it really worth shutting the country down and ruining the economy for,” asks Ray. “The full impact is yet to be felt by way of vastly increased costs for fuel, fertiliser, machinery, parts and shipping that will lter through. Admittedly for farmers that has been largely counteracted with sheep, beef and dairy prices. “But there are some quite signi cant impacts for farmers with processing delays compounded by the Southland droughts. It has been hard to get seasonal staff to work on farms and the agricultural contractors have also been impacted. There has been a signi cant productivity cost in shutting the country down and the rami cation of that is massive in ation which we will all pay the price for.”