Pursuing profit in the pastoral zone

22 May 2015

Sheep and cattle producers in the pastoral zone can now tap into a new program designed to help them improve their bottom line.

MLA and Australian Wool Innovation have partnered to develop Pastoral Profit, a program which will deliver business management skills to producers in Australia's pastoral zone.

Pastoral Profit also aims to increase access for these producers to leading industry information, resources and technical experts through an increased number of regionally customised professional development activities, both face-to-face and online.

Launch webinar

Pastoral Profit will be launched with a free webinar on the topic: the foundations for creating an economically sustainable livestock business in the pastoral zone.

The webinar will be held on Tuesday 9 June, 12.30-1.30pm EST.

Hosted by agricultural business consultant Dr Phil Holmes from Holmes &Co, the webinar will answer these questions:

  • How financially literate are you?
  • What are the elements of a financially sustainable rangelands business?
  • How do you allocate capital to progress?
  • How much capacity does your business have to handle debt?
  • What are the profit drivers of beef, sheep and wool production?

In addition, MLA Challenger and pastoral producer Andrew Miller will share how enhancing his business skills helped him improve profitability and productivity in the midst of extreme drought.

Here’s a snapshot of Andrew and Megan Miller’s journey.

Case study: Andrew and Megan Miller

Andrew and Megan Miller, who last year participated in the MLA Challenge, are cattle producers from Windorah, Queensland and they have signed on as Pastoral Profit advocates. Inspired by the new skills learned during the Challenge, Andrew said they know full well the benefits of enhanced business skills and the adoption of new business management systems.

Challenges

Running 1,000 Droughtmaster cattle on 28,328ha in a 280mm annual rainfall zone, Andrew and Megan entered the Challenge because of the issues they were facing including heading into an extreme drought, an increasingly complex business, the need to base decisions on more than 'gut feel' and declining profitability.

Strategies

Supported by their mentor, fellow cattle producer Guy Lord, the Millers undertook:

  • benchmarking to determine profit drivers and understand their business better
  • more informed decision making utilising new tools and resources
  • drought management planning using their new skills and processes which recognised the need for structured decision making, enterprise analysis to understand profit drivers, strategic marketing of livestock through evaluation of marketing opportunities and better herd management

Outcomes

As a result, Andrew and Megan remained sustainable through a tough season and celebrated successes along the way, such as:

  • lifting cow pregnancy rates from 57% to 67% in a tough year by concentrating on one enterprise and focusing on production and strategic de-stocking
  • using their drought management plan to give them confidence in decision making and remove the stress associated with gut feeling decision making
  • understanding their business through benchmarking and analysis so they could focus on top performing enterprises
  • evaluating market opportunities to take advantage of high prices, leading to greater profitability

Participants in Pastoral Profit activities will have the opportunity to learn similar skills and tools in their own enterprise.

Information

Register for the Pastoral Profit webinar

To register for more information about Pastoral Profit and to find out about activities in your area contact:

National Co-ordinator Pene Keynes T: 08 8841 4500 or E: pastoralprofit@ruraldirections.com

SA Regional Coordinator Anne Collins T: 0427 486 115 E: anne.collins@sa.gov.au

WA Regional Coordinator John Duff T: 0417 783 330 E: john@agvivo.com.au

Queensland Regional Coordinator Heather Smith T: 0428 712 985 E: pastoralprofitqld@gmail.com

NSW Regional Coordinator Mark Gardner T: 0419 611 302 E: mark.gardner@vbs.net.au


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