Rotations lift farm profits

Many farmers attending recent workshops in South Australia said that changing their rotations was the most important factor in increasing their profits.

More than 1,500 farmers took part in Right Rotations workshops conducted for SA TOPCROP and Right Rotations groups. Right Rotations is a South Australian Agricultural Bureau project supported by the GRDC. Including financial analysis in the workshops allowed farmers to use gross margins to assess a rotation's profitability.

The workshops brought together the previous highly successful Right Rotations workshops on nutrition, disease control, weed and herbicide management and sustainability. They recognised that the most appropriate rotation depends on more than just agronomic factors. Other things such as machinery, time, farm finances, family situation, attitude to risk and livestock and crop preference may be just as important in choosing an appropriate farming system as soil type and variability, nutrition, weeds and rainfall. The best rotation for one farmer may be markedly different from a neighbour's.

Farmers at the workshops received a kit, Managing Your Right Rotations, which includes the Gross Margin Calculator — a tool to quickly assess a rotation's profitability based on price, yield and variable production costs. The kit also includes a booklet describing the steps of rotation planning, information on break crops, potential yields based on rainfall and risk management.