Farm business management a key in driving grain profits

Author: | Date: 24 May 2011

Farm business management a key in driving grain profits

The Australian grains industry’s mission to boost productivity and grower profitability is being supported through an increasing focus on farm business management.

Recognising the importance of enterprise management in improving growers’ returns, the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) is targeting professionals who advise and service grain growers in a broader thrust to bolster industry productivity.

GRDC Southern Regional Panel chair David Shannon says Australian grains productivity has been in plateau mode for the past 10 years and that a whole-of-industry approach to lifting output and profitability was required.

“Agronomy, plant breeding and farm practices aren’t the only pathways to improved profitability,” Mr Shannon said. “Farm business management is another important area that can have a direct influence on increasing farm-gate returns.”

Mr Shannon recently addressed consultants, accountants, bankers, financiers, agronomists and others who work with grain growers, during a GRDC Farm Business Management Update in Adelaide.

The Update, the second of its kind in the southern cropping region, was aimed at addressing the growing complexity of grain farm management issues.

“The GRDC realises that advisers and consultants are a key target audience when it comes to informing and influencing growers – their clients – so it is important they have a good understanding and appreciation of those farm business issues that are becoming increasingly critical to growers and the success of their enterprises.

“The GRDC is looking at increasing grower and adviser capacity in farm business management through various forums, and this Update is just one of a number of new concepts initiated by the organisation,” Mr Shannon said.

The Farm Business Update featured keynote speakers from throughout Australia who provided the 120 attendees with a detailed insight into some of the issues affecting grain growers’ productivity and profitability.

Australian Farm Institute Director, Mick Keogh, spoke about the macro trends impacting on the grains industry over the next three years.

Mr Keogh said current higher grain prices and better seasonal conditions (for some) had created an opportunity to restore balance sheets and invest in new technology on-farm, and to better prepare growers for a future offering improved opportunities but also more international competition.

Mr Keogh also emphasised the emerging importance of sound business risk management as a must for grain growers heading into a volatile future.

Consultant Ron Storey, of Storey Marketing Services, detailed the background of global influences on grain price movements and the effective management of several grain marketing risks, while Mike Krause from Applied Economic Solutions discussed the land tenure options available to growers.

Rural Directions Managing Director, David Heinjus, addressed the management principles required to guide effective farm machinery decision making, and Dennis Hoiberg from Lessons Learnt Consulting spoke about succession planning and the importance of farm family communication.

Mr Shannon said the key “on-farm focus topics” of grain marketing, machinery cost efficiency and farm land tenure options were delved into more deeply with the presenters during focused question and answer workshops during the day.

“A panel of experts from the banking, accounting, agronomy and business management sectors discussed current issues affecting grain growers, and Update participants were provided with tools, guidelines and checklists to assist them to integrate what was learnt into discussions with their farming clients.

“To assist advisers and consultants in a practical way, the keynote speakers also utilised a real farm case study to emphasise the application of their principles when advising farm clients,” Mr Shannon said.

He said feedback collated after the event indicated that the GRDC Farm Business Update concept was strongly endorsed by participants.

Advisers wanting to find out more about the Farm Business Updates can do so by visiting or by phoning 03 5441 6176.


Caption: Addressing the Farm Business Update in Adelaide is GRDC Southern Regional Panel chair David Shannon.

Caption: Mick Keogh, Australian Farm Institute director, was a keynote speaker at the GRDC Farm Business Update in Adelaide.

• For more information contact GRDC Southern Regional Panel chair David Shannon on 0419 830700 or ORM on 03 5441 6176


• GRDC Project Code: ORM00001

• This media release and other media products are available via

GRDC Project Code ORM00001

Region South, North