News - November 13, 2014

Column: Intuition

For seven years now, I have been helping a group of dairy farmers in their search for a better balance between rationality and intuition. Between hard scientific facts and soft feelings and insights. Reality, both within dairy farming and outside it, cannot be explained with hard facts exclusively – nor by the opposite either. We are looking for a synthesis of rationality and intuition.

We have often spoken in the group about how you make decisions. If you have to make a decision, whether a personal one or one about your business or your cows, let go of the problem for a while. Don’t keep worrying at it. Sleep on it. In your sleep, rationality and intuition find the right balance and the next day you ‘suddenly know’ what the best decision is.

Jenny’s story went straight to our hearts. She told us about a personal experience of how ‘letting go’ can be the best thing to do. Jenny: ‘A cow that wasn’t very old was very sick and in a lot of pain. Your first thought is to call the vet, who should take action right away. You want to hold on to the cow. But the next day I saw that it was different for the cow. If the vet came I could see her going through a lot of suffering, and all for nothing. I decided to keep an eye on the cow. I prayed for her and I said to her: you can go if that is better for you. The cow lifted her head and gave me a long, deep look. I saw in her eyes that this was a good decision. As if she was thanking me. She laid her head down in the straw and died, peacefully and with no fuss. She had gone beyond suffering. I cried terribly, but this was the best thing I could do for her.'