The absence of meaningful stock sales during level 4 has given no clear insight into the immediate fortunes of farming.
However, the lockdown restrictions have given independent Whanganui livestock and farming commentator David Cotton time to ponder the imponderables.
Among those is the rush to cash in on the rapidly increasing value of carbon credit trading.
"I am the first to admit that my knowledge of carbon farming and the science behind it is limited at best. I also know there will be some who say this is not the first time I have written about a subject I have little knowledge of," Cotton conceded.
"I am a strong believer in right tree, right place, right reason, and I'm certainly not against forestry in general.
"I struggle to understand how planting good farmland with trees will have long-term benefits for rural communities and New Zealand. I certainly agree with the comments made to me by Hans Brink, who farms on the Watershed Road up the top end of Kai Iwi Valley.
"Hans and his wife Michelle started their farming career there in 1984 when the farm (2000ha) was first developed out of scrub and bush into sheep and beef.
"In the early days after the burn they were running 14000 stock units. This quickly dropped back to 7000, Hans told me, after the advantage of the ash was lost.
"Hans said trying to farm that type of hill country just sent a person broke and in hindsight it should never have been developed. The erosion of steep hill country was not good for the environment or your bank balance.
"The maintenance of fences, the cost of applying fertiliser, which you can't farm this type of country without - it just doesn't add up.
"Between 1993 to 1996, the first of the farm was planted into production forest - over the years 1550ha have now been planted. The economics of production forest outweighs livestock farming by a considerable margin, he said."
The introduction of carbon farming in 2008 was the icing on the cake, taking land that was uneconomic for livestock to being a very profitable carbon farm, with the added benefit of being better for the environment.
"Hans said he also does not support the blanket planting of forest on good farmland but hill country farmers with a gully or three could be missing out on a real opportunity to add another string to their bow income-wise.
"With the carbon price at auction over $50/tonne last month, and many see it heading to $70/tonne in the short term, why wouldn't you take this opportunity? (This week carbon was over $60/tonne at auction).
"Long term he now sees the forest as a carbon farm, with no plans to harvest.
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"In the long term (100 /150 years) the forest will revert to native bush.
"I just don't get how you can buy a get-out-of-jail-free card through buying carbon credits or planting a forest, then announce to the world you are a fantastic company and carbon-neutral while continuing to do the same old thing.
"Often I hear both individuals and organisations pay lip service to making any real change. A good friend of mine is a strong advocate of climate change yet until Covid he flew himself and his family business class holidaying around the world every year - he said he always paid the Air New Zealand Fly Neutral Carbon Offset
"This is nothing more than a get-out-of-jail-free card," Cotton said.
However, while pondering this issue Cotton reckons he may just have stumbled upon the next money-making scheme for non-smokers and non-drinkers, while making smokers and drinkers feel better about their habits.
"I have a small number of friends who don't smoke or drink alcohol. If you smokers and drinkers contact me I will put you in touch with them for a small fee - you pay them $20 a week and they will continue not to smoke or drink while you can claim to the world that you are smoke- and alcohol-neutral. A win/win - yeah, right!"