Help shape future of farming

Mixed sheep and cropping businesses in the state’s south-west have been invited to participate in a national project to help shape the future of the sector.

As an initiative of Meat and Livestock Australia, the Profitable Integration of Cropping and Livestock project will help identify what it takes to successfully integrate cropping and livestock enterprises.

The project aims to define the unique profit drivers in mixed farming systems. The project will also explore the influence of enterprise mix on the risk profile of businesses and utilise a qualitative survey process to identify the management traits that are common within successful mixed farming systems.

All data contributed will be treated as confidential. 

“In recent years we’ve seen cropping expand into traditional livestock areas – the cropping footprint has expanded,” project leader Simon Vogt said.

“Running a mixed farming system, it has greater complexity than if you were running a pure livestock business or a pure cropping system.

“What does it take to do it well, and make sure there isn’t enterprise conflict that’s eroding margins in each?”

To start that conversation, Mr Vogt said, “we need to start with good data.”

Participating producers will receive:

  • An on-farm visit to help you collate the following financial and enterprise information for the past three years: profit and loss statement (income and expenses); balance sheet (assets and liabilities), and; livestock trading account details (opening and closing numbers and sales and purchases)
  • A detailed benchmarking report on your financial performance, pasture harvest, cropping versus livestock gross margins, and operating margins, which compares your individual business with regional performance
  • The benchmarking reports will be explained in detail at a group workshop, where producers will have an opportunity to explore some of the profit drivers and insights. Workshop dates will be communicated later in the year.

Data collection is underway, and will conclude by late June 2017.

Researchers are seeking producers operating a mixed sheep and cropping business, ideally with at least $100,000 of revenue coming from the sheep enterprise.

For more information, or to get involved, contact Natasha Searle at Rural Directions Pty Ltd, Dubbo via email at nsearle@ruraldirections.com or phone 08 8841 4500 (head office, Clare South Australia).