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Tale of two farms: one profitable, one failing

LEARNING CURVE: Giving Darling Downs farmers some insight into how their businesses can be more profitable at the GRDC Farm Business Update are (from left) Andrew Toole, Kim Bowman, Simon Fritsch and Phil O'Callaghan.
LEARNING CURVE: Giving Darling Downs farmers some insight into how their businesses can be more profitable at the GRDC Farm Business Update are (from left) Andrew Toole, Kim Bowman, Simon Fritsch and Phil O'Callaghan. Megan Masters

IT WAS a bit of an eye opener for farmers when Kim Bowman told them he had seen plenty of instances where two businesses doing very much the same thing in the same region had income differences at times as high as hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Mr Bowman, who works for farm consultancy business Agripath, was one of the guest presenters at this week's Grains Research and Development Corporation Farm Business Update in Toowoomba.

The event was all about giving mum and dad farmers the insights needed to grow their businesses in a sustainable way, covering everything from managing the farm workers to whether they should choose fixed or variable interest for their loans.

Mr Bowman's talk was all about creating profitable and resilient farm businesses on the Darling Downs.

"I guess from the research we've done with farmers over the years, we've found there is a large difference in profit and a lot of this is related to crop choices, gross margins, yields and management decisions,” Mr Bowman said.

"There's often not a lot in it.

"The first thing we've got to do is get a snapshot of where they are now and then we can identify and compare them with similar farmers in similar situations.

"We're talking hundreds of thousands in difference in some cases.”

He said the feedback from participants was enthusiastic, something convenor Phil O'Callaghan said was a common theme for the day.

"It's a GRDC initiative to increase awareness of farm business management and the importance of it overall in farm business profitability,” he said.

"We're looking at economics, efficient use of research, understanding the people in the business and management of environment.

"There is always something new, topical and relevant.

"One of our presenters spoke about corporate and overseas investment in agriculture and how that is affecting land values and competition.”

He said despite a few rumbles around the room as the topic came up, people found it interesting and engaging.

Andrew Toole of Robinson Sewell Partners was on hand to talk about one topic that changes nearly every year depending on the global finance climate.

"We spoke about interest rates; fixed or variable,” he said.

"Where the markets are and what's involved with setting interest rates and how important it is for every business to look from a risk and impact point of view.

"Hopefully they picked up on the view that, rather than make decisions based on a hunch, do some research.”

Sessions were held in two other regions this week.

Topics:  agribusiness grdc toowoomba


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