Improved skill levels vital for farm profitability
Improving a farm manager’s skills, so they can make better business management and operational decisions, is a key factor towards achieving higher farm profits.
This was the message from Macquarie Franklin consultant Basil Doonan when he addressed recent Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Farm Business Updates in Western Australia.
Held at Geraldton, Merredin and Katanning in March, the events provided topical and practical information on key business issues facing growers and advisers.
They followed the success of a pilot WA event in 2014, initiated after the GRDC Regional Cropping Solutions Network (RCSN) initiative identified improved business skills, better knowledge of profit drivers and enhanced risk management as grower priorities.
Mr Doonan told the recent Updates that farming systems would continue to evolve as growers capitalised on new technologies and techniques emerging from research.
“The key incentive for growers to adopt and adapt these technologies and techniques is improved profitability,” he said.
“However, the extent to which these new farming systems are able to achieve higher profits is very likely to be a function of the manager’s skills.”
Mr Doonan said business management skills were a key determinant for running the right farming system.
“Operational skills that result in sound agronomic decisions then make sure that the right system – for the resources available – is implemented effectively and is highly profitable,” he said.
Mr Doonan said the environment that farm businesses operated in was dynamic, which meant that any decision needed to take into account how it would impact on the whole farming system.
“Adopting a ‘whole of business’ or ‘systems’ approach to the decision making process is one way of achieving consistently high profitability as the farming system evolves,” he said.
“Even the simplest decisions are set in a complex environment, and can have significant impacts at the business level.”
But Mr Doonan said that while farming itself was risky and complex, this did not mean that analysis of a farming system need be complex.
He also said it was critically important that a farming system remained flexible so that growers could react quickly to changes in the farming environment and market signals.
The GRDC has produced a comprehensive series of fact sheets to assist growers and advisers to understand the capacity, strengths and weaknesses of farm business enterprises.
Caption: Macquarie Franklin consultant Basil Doonan told the GRDC Farm Business Updates that a ‘systems’ approach to the decision making process can help farmers achieve consistently high profitability.
Basil Doonan, Macquarie Franklin
03 6427 5300, 0400 455 158
Natalie Lee, Cox Inall Communications
08 9864 2034, 0427 189 827
GRDC Project Code ORM00012