Make Budgeting Your Super Power

Every farming enterprise in each region of Australia experiences a unique pattern of annual cash flow. The severity of peaks and troughs between seasons is primarily dependent on the weather and level of rainfall.  

Dryland croppers in Western Australia experience their highest cash flow influx immediately following Harvest in January and February.  

Comparatively, livestock producers in New South Wales receive their highest levels of cash flow in immediately following wool or livestock sales and need to know if the cost of feeding stock over the summer is worth the premium they might get in months of low supply. 

To graciously simplify these examples, the cash received is dependent on the quality of the product, which is determined by the temperature and level of rainfall. 

So, despite these differences what separates the top-performing farm businesses from the majority? 

Cash flow and Budgeting.  

Cash flow issues can make or break your farm business. And it’s not just a lack of cash flow as you might assume; poor cash flow management, especially in the months when cash flow out exceeds cash flow in. Poor budgeting control can cause unnecessary stress and underperformance to an otherwise profitable farm business.  

While many farmers are busy battling the day-to-day challenges of farming, budgeting can often take a back seat.  This year, putting your head in the sand will be the worst thing you can do. 

Livestock producers in the eastern states have been urged to start developing a feed and water budget now, to ensure they are able to get their animals through what is expected to be a long, dry summer-autumn in 2019-2020.  These farmers need to validate their feed and water budgets against their financial budget. A production strategy is only successful if it matches a sound financial budget.  

This year, climate forecasting models predict a very tight spring followed by a below-average summer rainfall. Paired with low stored soil moisture, pasture growth will be difficult, making this summer substantially dryer than recent years. 

For summer croppers and livestock farmers, the trick to ensuring your success this summer is to get on top of your cash flow issues early and approach the heat with a best and worst case scenario budgets so you are equipped with knowing exactly what your cash flow will look like regardless of the weather. 

Advantages of Cash Flow Budgeting 
The humble budget is one of the most powerful tools you can have up your sleeve.  
Here are some of the functions we recommend you take advantage of: 

  • Review all expenditure and timings for payment

  • Decide when to sell and for how much, based on the following order:

  1. Liquidity (how quickly do you need the funds)

  2. Cash flow (what months can you afford not to have income?) 

  3. Profit  

  • Review Income and expenditure forecasting 

  • Review your current Enterprise(s) performance 

  • Use your reports to develop insights into your business that may allow you to lower risk or increase profit and cash flow 

  • Modeling scenarios for all possible weather outcomes or water availability 

Avoid Budgeting Mistakes 

So, you’ve crafted a 12-month budget for your expected cash flow over 2019-20.  
But, be honest, is it any good? Don’t fall for the following: 

  • Drawing it up, but not sticking to it. Or worse, never looking at it again - don’t rely on your memory to recall everything. 

  • Underestimating costs and overestimating revenue. While it might make you feel warm on the inside, it won’t feel so good when your unrealistic forecasting falls through and you can’t pay the bills.  Hope is not a strategy.  

  • Being too rigid. You need a little room to move in case of any unforeseen situations that may arise. Also remember that expenses fluctuate regularly, so you must allow for that. 

  • Only including the big items. The little things really add up and can take you by surprise if you haven’t included them somewhere.  Look where you can cut costs, change suppliers or upgrade operations that are weighing you down. 

  • Not revisiting and refining it regularly. This is a living document that changes as your farm business moves throughout the year. What may have worked last year may not suit now. Regularly compare your estimations with your actual cash book numbers to keep track of your progress and update the budget wherever necessary. 

If you’re interested in strengthening your business’ future this summer, take our Financial Health Check survey below and find out how your budget compares.

Click here to take the survey.

Susan Collins - Customer Testimonial

 

We love MEETING our customers!

 
 

We met Susan, at Dowerin Field Day.
Hear what Susan has to say about what features she uses most, what she plans to learn and her advice to new users.
A big thank you to Susan for her kind words!


We value all of our customers feedback.
If you would like to provide feedback or make a suggestion, please fill in the form below.

 
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Meet Michaela

Meet Michaela

Get to the Agriamster Team a little bit better through the 'Get to Know Us'series.
The first in the series, Meet Michaela.
Find out a little bit more about Michaela's world and hear what she has to say about working in an industry completely different from her background.

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AgriFuturesAU WA Rural Womens Award 2019 Nominee - Tanya Kitto

IMAGE: Tanya Kitto

IMAGE: Tanya Kitto

Tanya Kitto, a passionate lupin grower and long-term Agrimaster user from Geraldton has been nominated for the AgriFuturesAU Rural Women’s Award 2019. Ms Kitto is one of four nominees from Western Australia and her passion for changing people’s perceptions of lupins as a food source, has earned her a rightful place in the category.

In 1998, Ms Kitto married into farming and transitioned into the agricultural industry. Since then her advocacy for lupins as a food source grew. With 21 years of farming experience, she is also determined to create opportunities for regional women by learning how to grasp value-adding opportunities.

The Kitto family have been growing lupins since 1980, and Ms Kitto has actively been involved in the business since 1998. Traditionally, lupins are used to feed stock, and used as part of sustainable farming; lupins help with crop rotation and as weed & disease control. As lupins are a great source of fibre & protein, Ms Kitto wanted to shine a different light on the legume. She is dedicated to promoting the advantages and health benefits of lupins, and as a result, the family created a company called, My Provincial Kitchen. Ms Kitto states,

“We’re an integrated company in the fact that we grow, store, mill & package all our products on the farm, so we have full accountability.

And our lupin flour is different to others on the market because it is a wholemeal flour, so it includes the husk that increases that fibre content.”

The Kitto family, grow and only use Coromup lupins, as they are naturally lower in alkaloids and the best type of lupins for human consumption. Ms Kitto has set high standards in the products they produce. My Provincial Kitchen has a range of Gluten Free Lupin products.

Her aim is not to change people’s diet but to introduce the use of lupins as a substitute in the way we prepare our food. When asked how she plans to change people’s perceptions of lupins as a food source, she states,

Image: Tanya Kitto and Robert Kitto

Image: Tanya Kitto and Robert Kitto

“By making lupin easy to use as well as tasty.

We are learning more every day ourselves about different ways lupin reacts and ways to incorporate it in our daily lives, that is what we share with everyone so they can see different ways they can use it.”

Ms Kitto also expressed her personal experience of becoming lost in who she was and what she wanted in life, and through My Provincial Kitchen, she was able to rediscover her passions for what she loves and how she could help people. Ms Kitto also comprehended this as the biggest challenge faced by women in the industry and wants to help them see their importance and place in the agriculture industry.

Ms Kitto and her husband have been using Agrimaster for about ten years and consider Agrimaster as having the best reporting system. Ms Kitto also expressed her love for File Manager,  

“I DO LOVE FILE MANAGER!”

As a long term Agrimaster user, Ms Kitto mentioned her appreciation for Agrimaster’s strong customer service team, in particular to the regular phone calls and e-mail follow-ups she receives.

Ms Kitto offered some advice for the Agrimaster Team, to continue with the regular follow-ups as,

“The customers love to be able to hear from the Agrimaster Team, and they would love to know that Agrimaster values them as customers.”

At Agrimaster we continuously work hard to put our customers at the centre of our product. We always value your feedback, suggestions and testimonials. If you are a long-term user of Agrimaster or know of a long term user, please nominate them/yourself to be featured in our next blog post.

Please e-mail your details and your nominee to marketing@agrimaster.com.au.

Raymond Harrington - Farming Legend of the Year

Ray Harrington has been awarded as Farming Legend of the Year  Picture: Danella Bevis

Ray Harrington has been awarded as Farming Legend of the Year

Picture: Danella Bevis

Long term Agrimaster client, Raymond Harrington, was awarded Farming Legend of the Year 2018, at Parliament House on Tuesday 16th October. There were many applicants in different farming categories; Mr Harrington was one of four nominees in the Western Australian category awards. Mr Harrington has 55 years of farming experience and throughout his career, he has developed and promoted three major innovations, which have made a wide impact, both nationally and internationally.

Mr Harrington’s farm career started in 1963, together with his father Brian and brother David, working undeveloped farmland, running 3000 sheep and 50-hectare crop. By 1973, they were running about 25,000 sheep and 1200 hectare crops. All the sheep work and shearing was done by Brian, David and Ray, and saw first-hand the difficulties they’ve faced while shearing. Soon after Ray, together with his brothers David and Douglas, developed one of their very first inventions – a crutching cradle.

“The crutching cradle was born from necessity, as it allowed David and I to crutch up to 1600 sheep per day,” said Mr Harrington.

Following the success of the crutching cradle, the brothers continued to develop two other sheep equipment inventions; jetting race and V-shape machine, which are manufactured in Australia, as well as in the United Kingdom. The equipment eliminated the need for physical handling, which in turn increased the speed of the operation, allowing farmers to run up to 4-times as many sheep per man unit.

By the late 70s, Ray and his brother David, developed a reduced-cultivation style of cropping (No-till system), to prevent erosion in farms freshly cleared land. The innovation also resulted in the establishment of Western Australian No-Tillage Farmers Association (WANTFA), in 1997.

Raymond explained, “We thought – why not make a knife-point that cultivates below the seed, sow the seed in a row and leave the inter-row intact.”  

Ray started developing the Harrington Seed Destructor in 1996, which won him his recent title of Farming Legend of the Year 2018. From his thorough understanding of herbicide resistance, the invention reduces the overall need of the herbicides in farming.

Mr Harrington stated,

“I saw the impact herbicide resistance was having on the WA cropping system and I developed a method to devitalise the weed seed in the chaff fraction at harvest. This prolonged the life of the chemicals used and eventually, reduced our dependency on them.”

Testing began, when Ray teamed up with University of Western Australia herbicide resistance unit, Professor Steve Powels and Dr. Michael Walsh. Mr Harrington emphasised there is no ‘I’ in team and praised Professor Powels and Dr. Walsh highly. After thorough testing and continuous effort, the Harrington Seed Destructor is now recognised globally as a major tool to fight against herbicide resistance.  

Over Mr Harrington’s 50 year farm career and through his innovations, he has been recognised and awarded in several categories for his continuous improvements and involvements in the agriculture sector. Ray’s achievements include:

Shayne and Onawe Whyte of Australind, Ray Harrington of Darkan and Steve Powles from UWA at the 2018 Western Australia Australian of the Year awards.

Shayne and Onawe Whyte of Australind, Ray Harrington of Darkan and Steve Powles from UWA at the 2018 Western Australia Australian of the Year awards.

1976 – V-shape machine was runner up on the ABC Inventors.

2013 – GRDC recognised and rewarded Excellence Award for 20 years of AG innovation.

2014 – Awarded the Order of Australia Medal for his service to agriculture.

2015 – Awarded the Global Edison award for the HSD for innovation in agriculture.

2017 – Overall winner of Transtasman Syngenta Growth Awards across the Sustainability profitability, community and people categories.

2018 – Finalist in the Australian Senior of the Year Award.

Ray offered some advice for other farming innovators out there, simply ‘just have a go’, and try to establish partnerships to further your product into the market.

If you know anyone who has been a long-term Agrimaster client, please nominate them to be featured on our blog. Email your details and your nominee’s details to marketing@agrimaster.com.au.