An increasing number of sheep and cattle producers are turning to independent advice to ensure they capitalise on these good times and set their businesses up for the future.
But as demand grows, there is a need for more advisors, with many established consultants unable to take on new clients.
Victor Harbor-based livestock consultant Tim Prance, who has nearly 50 years working with farmers early on with the Dept Primary Industries and more recently working as an independent livestock consultant, has really noticed demand growing in the past 10-15 years.
"The profitability of the livestock industry is driving it, but it would have still happened if prices were not so high," he said.
"A lot more farmers are employing people and they want them to be up to date, others are working full time (in another field) but also running livestock."
Mr Prance believes the interest in engaging independent consultants has also been enhanced as farm management transitions to the next generation.
Almost all of his clients are under 40 years of age, and many have tertiary qualifications or are managing another business apart from a livestock farm.
"(Stock) agents have been an important source of information and still are, but livestock producers are realising that there are other independent options to go to," he said.
Mr Prance says group-run programs, such as Lifetime Ewe Management and Bred Well Fed Well, have been hugely beneficial in upskilling producers and many of his clients are now fine-tuning their management further.
Much of this consulting is one-on-one.
"There is a bit of divide here in SA between the larger producers and a lot of smaller, mixed farmers, but probably half or more of those larger ones running more than 3000-4000 sheep would use a (livestock) consultant of some kind," he said.
Mid North livestock consultant Deb Scammell is also seeing incredible demand, as mixed farmers focus more on their sheep enterprises.
"They are talking to others and realising the money they are missing out on not producing as many lambs as they could be in their flocks," she said.
A major part of the time Ms Scammell spends in her Talking Livestock business is with clients doing feed budgeting to reduce ewe mortality and maximise lambing percentages and helping producers optimise their stocking rates.
But Ms Scammell is already fully committed and struggling to find other people offering independent advice in her region that she can refer people to.
"There are big gaps in SA now and the businesses with people offering independent advice are mostly over-committed," she said.
Meat & Livestock Australia's two-year livestock consulting internship program has been good at providing graduates with a career path into consulting, but Ms Scammell - who started her own business 2.5 years ago - says the industry needs a similar program for those with 10-15 years experience in agriculture who have plenty of knowledge to offer.
Ms Scammell divides her time between running groups and one-on-one consulting but she fears SA is now in a position where a shortage of independent livestock consultants may limit the delivery of some valuable programs.
"There are a lot of industry programs which are relying on consultants to deliver them," she said.
"The funding is there, but with the loss of the extension staff from PIRSA, it is hard to find someone to run them."
Livestock SA project manager Pene Keynes says the SA Sheep Industry Blueprint has identified the shortage of consultants in SA and has made it a goal to increase capacity in this area.
She rejoined the SA Livestock Consultants group in 2021, with her career previously including including providing animal health advice and benchmarking.
Ms Keynes sees the group of about 20 independent consultants as a great support network for those interested in coming into independent consultancy, but says Livestock SA is also working on other training opportunities.
ROBE'S Ashlee Carslake-Hunt has not looked back since starting her own livestock consultancy business in October 2020.
She is gradually building a strong client base of sheep and cattle producers in the South East and Hamilton, Vic, region.
Prior to this she worked for other livestock production companies, largely in sales roles after graduating with an Agricultural Science degree from the University of Adelaide.
She says her frustration in her role as a technical sales rep prompted the decision to establish Tailored Livestock Consulting, along with the need for flexible work after having her first child.
"You could only give the advice as far as the products would go and I really wanted to delve deeper and give the clients more and more specialised independent advice," she said.
"I had more and more people saying they didn't want to buy the products, but asking if they could pay me for my advice."
Much of Ms Carslake-Hunt's consulting involves strategic planning with clients ahead of key production times such as joining, pre-lambing and pre-calving, as well as weaning.
Feed budgeting of hay and grain is also a big focus during summer and autumn.
"That constant checking in with clients keeps the efficiencies rolling and for some it is about having someone to bounce ideas off," she said.
"My passion is in livestock production so I am loving it."
One of the SA Sheep Industry Blueprint's targets by 2030 is to increase the use of trusted advisors on-farm to lift return on assets by 1.5 per cent.
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