Understand the cost of not doing it

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Stock Journal Article - June 2024

Author: Ken Solly, Agribusiness Consultant 

Continuing dry conditions in the southern regions are leading to increased stress levels. Purchasing and the high cost of extra feed is leading to very poor rations and this is very concerning. Over recent years farmers have had a lot of equity added to their balance sheets with improved values for their land and now you may have to “burn a very small amount” of equity to do the feeding job properly. In every decision there is always two options, in this case there is the cost of the feed and the cost of not feeding properly. With the later, more ewe deaths, lower lambing percentages, lower wool cuts, lower lamb carcase weights, less sale lambs and poor weaners are just some of the losses that should tallied. In most cases these losses will outweigh the cost of feeding appropriately.

Making a small loss can end up being a good result given the circumstances so it is important where possible to stop what is slipping through your fingers. Minimising losses is every bit as important as optimising profit. This year you will learn things that will hold you in good stead for future seasons. It is now that many realise that it is the decisions you make in good times that get you through the bad ones. Drought fodder reserves are like an insurance policy. Most farmers take out insurance on their machinery and other assets and quite often never make a claim but it is there if needed. Fodder should be no different. We need to look after the animals well because they are looking after us by providing us with valuable income and our livelihood.

If you find you are worrying a lot, you need to ask more questions and gain more information. This then allows for the best possible plan and if you know it is the best possible plan, then just stop worrying. Worry does not fix anything it just saps you of energy and sleep. One very important thing you must not do, is to argue, try not to be a problem to someone else and this is usually mirrored back to you. If you think arguing is inevitable then maybe a third party is needed. Life will be tough enough without that extra stress. In many cases having a consultant come and help you develop a plan for the next hundred days could be the best decision you make in 2024.

Whilst feeding livestock ties you to the farm, effort needs to made to get off the farm whenever you can. A fish and chip evening meal with friends in the local park or an overnight camp along the river or in the scrub could be options. So simple yet so beneficial. Life is more than farming; you have a family and community that have needs as well. Spending more time with your kids is so important as they do not have any of life’s baggage and can create a lot of pleasure and enjoyment. We have experienced failed autumns before and come out the other side well, keep talking to your mates and if you find one to be struggling, there are people out there to help.

Check out Ken’s 10 minute talk – Managing yourself in tight times