Advice for offsetting financial pressure on farmers

Author: Michael Thomson | Date: 18 Nov 2013

Farmers in the northern region are spending twice as much to maintain the same profit margins they were achieving 15 or 20 years ago.

Data from independent ‘data house’ Ag Profit, and outlined in the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Ground Cover Farm Business Management Supplement, shows that costs have more than doubled over the past 25 years for mixed farms in northern NSW, from $750,000 to $1.4 million a year.

Manager Grower Services for the north, Sharon O’Keeffe, said while income had also doubled over the same period, farmers were having to roll “much bigger dice” at the start of each season, with increased pressure to deliver enough income to offset the higher costs.

“To help offset this increased pressure, the Ground Cover supplement outlines a range of tools that farmers can use as well as extensive advice from industry experts,” Ms O’Keeffe said.

Among the topics covered in the 20-page booklet are: 

  • How much farm machinery is too much?
  • How to look at your finances from an accountant’s perspective.
  • Technology adoption and how it is driving success.
  • Balancing reward and risk.

Ms O’Keeffe said the booklet was a must-read for any farmer wanting to a better understand the income and cost structure on their farm.

“The aim is to provide the tools and knowledge that will enable farm business managers to best manage the specific risk and profit profiles of an individual farm and its assets,” she said.

The GRDC Ground Cover Farm Business Management Supplement is available at

The GRDC has also produced a comprehensive series of fact sheets to assist growers and advisers in understanding the capacity, strengths and weaknesses of the farm business enterprise.

These are available at 

Contact Details 

For Interviews

Sharon O’Keeffe, GRDC, Northern Growers Services Manager
0409 279 328


Michael Thomson, Senior Consultant, Cox Inall Communications
07 4927 0805

GRDC Project Code AES00006

Region North