Farmers share successful business strategies in new manual

Author: Sharon Watt | Date: 19 Mar 2015

Mike Krause and Nigel Wilhelm

Farm enterprises located throughout the southern cropping region are profiled in a first-of-its-kind farm business management manual that has just been launched by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).

The Farming the Business manual is designed for farmers, and their advisers, whose farm business management knowledge and skills are at all levels.

Authored by Mike Krause of Plan2Profit Agri, the manual features farmer case studies to demonstrate the techniques that those primary producers have successfully employed to improve their businesses.

Discussing their enterprises and sharing their experiences in the manual are New South Wales farmers David and Nell Mott of Wagga Wagga; and Tony and Vicky Geddes of Holbrook; Tasmania’s Michael and Fiona Chilvers of Launceston; Victorian producers Bruce and Lachie Wilson of Winchelsea; and Robert and Scott Nicholson of Campbell’s Bridge; and South Australian farmers John Gladigau and Robin Schaefer of Alawoona; and Steve, Lhot and Jerome Martin of Minlaton.

Several experts have contributed their knowledge and expertise to development of content for the manual that has been tested by growers and advisers.

GRDC Southern Regional Panel chair Keith Pengilley says the manual has been produced in response to an identified need for improved farm business management skills throughout the grains industry.

“There is so much more to farming than simply producing crops and livestock,” Mr Pengilley said. “What happens away from the paddocks in areas such as finance, marketing, succession planning, risk management and farm labour is critically important.

“Good farm business management skills are pivotal to farm enterprise sustainability and viability, and in enabling farmers to seize opportunities to grow their businesses.

“This unique manual fills a real gap in the available resources on this topic and I strongly encourage growers who wish to build their management skills to access a copy.”

Author Mike Krause said the business of farming was becoming more challenging, with greater variations in commodity prices, continual uncertainty with weather patterns and declining terms of trade.

“At the same time, the demand for agricultural produce is continually growing and provides great opportunity to Australian agriculture,” Mr Krause said.

“This farm business management manual is a significant investment by the GRDC to assist farmers with their business skills so they are well equipped to successfully manage and advance their enterprises.”

Mr Krause said the manual had been broken down into three modules to cater for a wide variety of need, given that farmers are at different stages of their business careers.

The first module provides an overview of the business of farming, covering the economic environment, people management and the basics of sound farm business management. The aim of this section is to provide an overview to highlight areas to improve farm business management skills.

The second module covers the ‘how to’ of sound farm business management. It goes through how to develop a business vision, the essential farm business budgets, and financial and performance ratios. It provides detail on what financial reports should be generated for greater control of farm business management and improved business sustainability.

The third module covers more advanced topics to extend and refine the reader’s farm business management. Some of the topics are risk management, succession planning and the analytical tools that should be used to answer those important ‘what-if’ questions for scenario analysis.

The product of an extensive industry collaborative process, Farming the Business is now available in a traditional hard copy manual format, and an eBook version of the manual will soon be released.

Hard copies are available from Ground Cover Direct, free phone 1800 11 00 44 or email While the manual is free, a postage and handling charge of $10.00 applies. When ordering, please quote order number GRDC873.

Selected PDF files of each section of the book can be viewed and downloaded via



For Interviews

Mike Krause, Plan2Profit Agri

0408 967122


Sharon Watt, Porter Novelli

0409 675100

Caption: Farming the Business author Mike Krause (left), of Plan2Profit Agri, was at a GRDC grains research Update in Adelaide (SA) where he discussed the new manual with SA Research and Development Institute research leader and GRDC Regional Cropping Solutions Network (low rainfall zone) facilitator Nigel Wilhelm.

GRDC Project Code PTP00001

Region South, North