Often we can get caught up in the “shop frontage” focusing on how good the farm or crops looks from the outside, rather than it's financial sustainability. Farming in the Mallee continues to be challenging with many farms exposed to greater production risk than ever before. High debt levels, high cost of production, and succession planning are key factors affecting farm sustainability and business viability.
Over the past decade, growers have made substantial advances in their farming systems, despite experiencing tough years during the millennium drought in the 2000s. However, for some farm businesses, these advances have increased the cost of production and the business’ financial risk. The past two seasons have had a significant impact on many businesses and with the forecast El Nino this year, growers could be faced with a similar or worse situation to last year.
While agronomic issues such as managing inputs, emerging pests and dealing with on-going herbicide resistance still exist, many growers have a reasonable understanding of day-to-day aspects of growing crops. Spending time to strategically review where the business is heading and focus on profitability and achieving a return on investment is very important. Regularly monitoring how the business is tracking through cash flows and revision of yield estimates and forecast income is extremely important.
The service is led by Simon Craig (former BCG research agronomist) and Pooles leading advisers Troy Thamm, Mark Reed, Adam Laughlin and Noel Meney. The concept of the service is to put the right people around the table that will provide the best advice, assisting farmers determine a strategic direction to manage the risks and be less reactive. The service is intended to combine agronomic production risk analysis and farming system strategies with a business development focus.
At the Farm management meetings, the team will review farm business goals, individual benchmarking data, crop planning, cash flow projections and estimated farm profitability. Other issues such as succession planning and feasibility studies (further land purchases) are also incorporated.
To gain a greater insight into our service at no cost we invite dry land farms to join our free benchmarking program – the largest data set in the Mallee.