Review management to avoid getting complacent

Review management to avoid getting complacent

Agribusiness
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Top sportspeople do a lot of 'one percenters' and by the time they add all these together it makes a huge difference. Good sheep operators are no different.

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STAY FOCUSED: Strong returns for sheep may have meant many producers are not doing the 'one percenters' well.

STAY FOCUSED: Strong returns for sheep may have meant many producers are not doing the 'one percenters' well.

I WAS recently involved in a teleconference with one of my former Lifetime Ewe Management groups and the focus of discussion was on management of ewes leading up to lambing.

The great strength of this group is that they are all young and either managing the farm or having a strong role in the sheep enterprise.

In recent years, each member of the group has experienced reasonably good seasons and very good prices so individual motivation for lamb production is very high.

In 2018 I worked with numerous sheep groups and I asked these producers what the last financial year was like in terms of sheep income.

Many said it was the best ever and I remember one producer saying that he was up 35 per cent on the previous year.

I then asked them how much of this increase in income was due to the improved prices and how much was due to their improved production.

With seasons and prices out of the producer's control, it makes it even more important to keep a keen eye on costs.

In most cases they said it was almost entirely due to the marketplace.

On digging deeper, I then ascertained that there was a clear lack of well thought-out strategy on improving production and I could not help but think that the higher prices had bought about a degree of complacency in their management.

During the teleconference I gauged the number of producers who had ewes in containment feeding areas.

Several indicated they did and would be letting them out into the paddocks very soon given the autumn break had arrived a few weeks earlier.

With further questioning I needed to determine the megajoules of energy fed and what it was actually costing per ewe.

Every one could tell me how much they were feeding, but quite a few could not convert that into MJ and cost a head per day.

They all had been taught to do this when they were doing Lifetime Ewe Management but most had slipped back into their former ways.

One cent a ewe a day sounds unimportant but that is 7c a week, 70c across a 10-week feeding period and $3500 for a flock of 5000 ewes.

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Top sportspeople do a lot of 'one percenters' and by the time they add all these together it makes a huge difference. Good sheep operators are no different.

With seasons and prices out of the producer's control, it makes it even more important to keep a keen eye on costs.

It is imperative that you produce your income, not buy it. You can spend a lot and in-turn produce a lot, but success is not necessarily achieved doing that. It is the margin that is critical and the sustainability of the practice.

For many farmers, the greatest and cheapest gain is to stop what is slipping through their fingers.

Losses are deducted from your potential profit first.

Maybe it is time to do a personal review of your management and try to determine if you have become complacent in any area of the enterprise and then do something about it.

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