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Farmers prepare for hard times

GIPPSDAIRY regional manager Allan Cameron told a gathering of farmers at Meeniyan they were being thought of in the wake of the milk price drop.

The Meeniyan Bowls Club was close enough to being a full house as farmers received practical advice to prepare for tough times, at the Dairy Australia Tactics for Tight Times event last Thursday.

Mr Cameron said that for every million dollars that passes through the farm gate, five jobs were created.

Gippsland based John Mulvany from Onfarm Consulting said he has been obsessed with forecasting the price of milk since April 27 but said, “It is hot air to think that you will know the price of milk in 12 months’ time.”

He spoke of there being significant pasture deficiencies across South Gippsland and reported many farms are struggling to grow grass with soil suffering from a hot and dry summer. Mr Mulvany said this was despite the rain in the last few weeks and the warmth leading grass to grow at spring-like rates.

Given many farms are struggling to grow grass, Mr Mulvany said this is the year for farmers to really hone their pasture skills.

“Review herbicides and look for cheaper options,” he said.

NAB agribusiness consultant Brian Gannon said farmers were finding it hard to plan financially beyond the next season because banks do not know what the price of milk will be.

He said farmers need to be well prepared and the two most important steps they can take are to have a plan, and to come forward and ask for assistance and advice.

“It is all about decision making and coming up with a plan for your farm for the bank to support,” Mr Gannon said.

“It is crucial that people communicate with their banks about what is happening on the farm.”

Mr Gannon said cash flow can be generated by clearing out machinery that hasn’t been used for ages.

“Farmers need to ask themselves if the asset is really needed,” Mr Gannon said.

“It is surprising how much cash can be generated.”

The audience was also told to thoroughly review their insurance cover and Mr Gannon said savings can often be found there too, including equipment and machinery that is no longer used, yet still insured.

In an attempt to shed some light on grain prices softening, David Huggins, an agent with Ridley, in Warragul said, “The world is flush with cereal and corn. Normally China takes our sorghum but they have pulled out, making a softening of prices a certainty.”

Cost savings can be found all over the farm and veterinary surgeon Peter De Garis said, “It is surprising how many cows are treated for mastitis which don’t need treating. It can be a complete waste of time.”

He pressed farmers to make informed decisions and potentially save thousands of dollars.

Damian Murphy from the UDV, who hosted the Look over the farm gate program, spoke about farmers’ mental health.

He said the object of Look over the farm gate was, “to get people off their farms into a social occasion where they chat and share information.”

He said a lot of farms were struggling and there is a tendency for a given farmer to think he was the only one facing a tough time.

“There are always options,” he said.

Rural Financial Counselling Service counsellor Anne Gilligan said, “We are going into a lot harder years and farmers need to really focus on how they will get through.”

South Gippsland Shire Council community strengthening coordinator Ned Dennis told the gathering farmers were not alone.

“Every day the shire receives calls from people wanting to know how they can help,” he said.

He said council would act as a coordinator for community activities happening to support farmers.

Mr Dennis asked people with ideas to contact council.

Concern: GippsDairy regional manager Allan Cameron assembled a range of experts with information to help farmers facing a tough period ahead, at an informal dinner at the Meeniyan Bowls Club last Thursday, attended by close to a packed house.

Concern: GippsDairy regional manager Allan Cameron assembled a range of experts with information to help farmers facing a tough period ahead, at an informal dinner at the Meeniyan Bowls Club last Thursday, attended by close to a packed house.

Short URL: https://thestar.com.au/?p=18663

Posted by on May 31 2016. Filed under Rural News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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