Fiscal responsibility

Location: Scott River, WA

Enterprise: Prime beef

Producer: Tim and Les Prosser

Pasture type: Half perennial ryegrass and kikuyu, balance annual clovers and rye

Tim Prosser admits that when he registered to be part of the My-Beef-My-Business program last year, his main motivation was what was happening over the fence.

“My neighbour participated in My-Beef-My-Business the first year it was run and, really, I wanted to see how we were doing relative to him,” Tim said.

The report that came back showed that Tim (pictured) and his father, Les, who run the family’s Scott River beef business, were generally doing well.

“We thought we were doing okay, but it was good to know for sure that we weren’t at the bottom of the list,” Tim said.

“Our stocking rates were right up where they should have been and we weren’t spending money where we shouldn’t. We weren’t paying to grow the cattle.”

One thing Tim found interesting was that his neighbour was spending more on fertiliser, but wasn’t necessarily more profitable.

“By putting less fertiliser on the paddocks, we are producing less beef per hectare, but our costs were also lower, so the profit margin is comparable,” he said.

“It’s not a simple case of the more you spend, the greater the profit – there’s a broad range of possibilities and it’s a balancing act to work out just where to pitch it.

“I’m pretty happy with where we are sitting – with the balance between what we are spending and what we are making. It was interesting to see where the money was going.”

Tim plans to participate in the program again this year.

“I’d like to look at another year’s data to make sure our good result wasn’t just a one-off. Last year, we had good prices and good seasons, so it will be interesting to see how it works in a different year. I don’t think the difference will be huge, but we’ll see,” he said.

The biggest lesson for him from the program was the importance of making the most of everything you spend.

“Every dollar has to be spent to make money, not to keep up with the neighbour,” Tim said, even if he is keeping a close and competitive eye on what’s going on over the other side of the fence.

Lessons learned

  • You can’t improve profitability unless you know where your money is going.
  • Find the balance between expenditure and income that works for your own risk profile.
Scott River, WA
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