Debt reduction the focus

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Debt reduction the focus

BRUCE Manintveld and Fiona Baker from Mirboo North have opened their farm and finances for the latest round of focus farms across Gippsland.
Their first field day was held recently and attracted more than 50 people.
Having taken on the farm and $1.6 million in debt just 20 months ago, the couple was keen to reduce debt as fast as possible.
When the two year focus farm period started last July, they saw it as a great opportunity to refine their farming skills, to help increase profitability and shrink their mortgage.
With a strong season behind them, the couple is pleased with what they are getting – and giving – during the focus farm.
“We’re learning and they (the support group members) are learning,” Bruce said.
Some of the bigger discussion issues have been the re-sowing of pastures and how hard to push silage production.
As it turns out, the answer to the latter question was: fairly hard.
“We went as hard as we could and we ended up with about 130 tonnes or thereabouts and we have hardly used any yet,” Bruce said.
With silage in the pit, Bruce and Fiona can send money to the bank, rather than to their feed company.
“It changes how much we can use this season and how much cash we can bank this season,” Bruce said.
“We can cut the grain back, which would have otherwise been money going out the door.”
Focus farm facilitator Jeff Urie has been working as a farm consultant with the couple for several years.
He said they have a simple formula for farming that is centred on profitability.
“Bruce and Fiona do a really good job and have the ability to stick to a plan and work to a budget and, as a result, they get very consistent and good outcomes,” he said.
“They only bought the farm 20 months ago and their key goal was to be debt free in 10 years, but at the rate they are going I reckon it will be five.
“The whole project is about debt reduction and consistent profitable farming.”
For Jeff, the best advertisement for the effectiveness of the Manintveld/Baker method is the way the farm’s pasture is holding up in the middle of February.
“It’s all about pasture management,” he said.
“You look at the place now and it’s green, active and growing.
“They haven’t had to put nitrogen on for four to six weeks, while other farms I saw on the way here were dead, brown and yellow.”
Focus farms is a project funded by GippsDairy and Dairy Australia using dairy levy funds. An experienced farm consultant is provided as a facilitator, as well as a support group of fellow farmers and local service providers.

Spotlight on: from left, facilitator Jeff Urie and farmers Bruce Manintveld and Fiona Baker were the hosts of the first focus farm field day at their Mirboo North property.

Spotlight on: from left, facilitator Jeff Urie and farmers Bruce Manintveld and Fiona Baker were the hosts of the first focus farm field day at their Mirboo North property.

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Posted by on Mar 3 2015. 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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