Growers hone business skills to meet challenges
Author: Natalie Lee | Date: 22 Aug 2016
It is becoming increasingly important for grain growers to have solid business management skills to help them to meet production challenges and remain profitable.
The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has published new case studies of some of the top performing farm businesses in Western Australia’s eastern grainbelt, providing insights into their management, agronomy practices and triggers for key decision-making.
Business management and farm profitability – Case studies of growers in Western Australia is an initiative of the GRDC’s Kwinana East Regional Cropping Solutions Network (RCSN).
WA RCSN coordinator Julianne Hill said the group had identified a need for in-depth understanding of the costs involved in farming in the eastern grainbelt and the development of skills to generate profits, rather than solely focusing on higher crop production.
“As in many regions of WA, the business of farming in the eastern grainbelt is challenging for growers trying to juggle increasing variability in seasonal conditions, commodity prices and terms of trade,” she said.
“Major characteristics of this region are low rainfall cropping systems and low input/low risk management.
“Farm profit margins are being squeezed and debt has typically increased.”
Ms Hill said the six business case study growers featured in Business management and farm profitability were managing complex, multi-layered farm businesses that were well set up and functioned efficiently.
“Innovation often comes from those who face challenging times,” she said.
“Eastern grainbelt growers are adept at initiating and implementing new ideas and managing their risks to grow their businesses.”
Merredin grower and GRDC Western Regional Panel member Julie (Jules) Alvaro and her husband Joseph (Pep) are among the growers featured in the publication.
The couple consistently plant 80 per cent of their 5250 hectare, arable cropping area to wheat, in one of WA’s driest cereal growing environments.
They firmly believe in keeping pace with technological advancements while keeping an eye on the bottom line.
“To achieve this, we are finding it is essential to be highly disciplined in our strategy, organisation and management,” Ms Alvaro said.
“There can be big variations in commodity prices mixed with extreme seasonal variations, which can put pressure on our cash flow.
“It is imperative we keep our budgets tight, without skimping on the necessary expenditure and investment to build our business.”
Business management and farm profitability – Case studies of growers in Western Australia is available via this link.
As well as grower case studies, it includes detailed farm business management information from WA advisers and links to useful resources.
Julianne Hill, GRDC RCSN coordinator
08 9726 1307, 0447 261 607
Jules Alvaro, Western Regional Panel
0429 141 668
Natalie Lee, Cox Inall Communications
08 9864 2034, 0427 189 827
GRDC Project Code CIC00027, PLN0009