Subtropical Dairy Focus Farm 2017 - 2019Real Farms, Real Conditions, Real Decisions
Focus farms provide the opportunity for farmers to learn through the “story” of the Focus Farm.
This is supported by:
- Applying good business management principles to decision making
- Allowing the opportunity for discussion and analysis of the risks
- Drawing on the collective experience of the support group
- Monitoring and evaluating the outcomes of the decisions that are made
- Using the visibility of decisions made to support a wider audience of farmers
Dairy farmers making complex decisions is not new but what is adding to the complexity is the increasing level of volatility in the operating environment making the outcomes of decisions more uncertain. Whether that increased volatility is due to markets, costs or seasonal conditions, there is a real need for decision support that will allow farmers to be more confident about the decisions they need to make. Our focus is on improving farmer decision-making, management of risk and increasing farm profitability.
Focus farmers are selected through an application process and supported over the two years that they are in place as a Focus Farm by senior advisers and a support group made up of other farmers, service providers and people selected by the focus farmers. The support group meets throughout the year and typically two open days are held for other interested farmers to get a close look at the Focus Farm’s progress.
Paul and Jo Judge
Gowrie Junction, Queensland
Paul has a long history in the industry, working his way up through a dairy apprenticeship to farm management positions. Jo and Paul started their business in July 2014.
They have recently resigned the lease for the property for a five-year term. The cross bred herd is currently made up of 160 adult animals, producing between 700 – 800,000 litres a year.
The 60 ha milking platform is supported by heifer and dry cow blocks at Crows Nest and neighbouring the farm.
Paul and Jo strive to have a highly profitable dairy business that they can be proud of, allowing them to both grow their wealth and have an enjoyable lifestyle.
|Business Name:||Judge Family Trust|
|Owners:||Paul and Jo Judge|
|Address:||Gowrie Junction, QLD|
|Leasing Arrangement:||Initial lease was for three years (July 14- June 17)
Current in a five-year lease (July 17 – June 21)
Business Overview – Current Business Vision and Goals
|Long Term Goals||Wealth to either lease another farm or purchase land|
|Shorter Term Goals||
|Current Financial Position||
|Key Focus Area||AIM||Issue||Objectives||KPI|
|FEEDBASE||Improve kg DM/ha through perennial based pastures||Irrigation, Infrastructure Feed Production||• To improve irrigation efficiency and pasture production|
• Reduce labour spent on operation of irrigation
• To improve quantity and quality of forage as per herd requirements
• Grow the type of crops that will optimize the feeding requirements of the herd
• Supplement with purchased products where required
|• Produce 12ton DM/ha• Have at least 75% homegrown feed that costs less than 20c/litre with total costs of production to not exceed 35c/litre
• 365 days feed supply mapped for 180 cows/day
|HERD||To have a more productive herd||Herd Replacements|
|• To have a more productive herd (L/cow)|
• Identify and replace lower producing cows
• To get cows back into calf quicker
• To manage herd replacements
|• Increase production to 5500 litres/cow from a 180-cow milking herd
• Average days in milk 170 days
• Year round calving with 10 – 15 calves/month
• Cull 10 cows/month
|LABOUR MANAGEMENT||Employee technology or labour to assist with the more efficient running of the farm||Employment|
|• To employ labour units for the day to day running of the farm. |
• Reduce Pauls work load to have some time off
• Enable Paul to spend more time on progressing the business
• To manage the business so that it can grow equity and have good work/life balance
• Skills Improvement
|• Employ labour either on a casual basis or part time.
• Spend 4 hours/week on business management and planning
• Upskill on technology use
• Learn how to use EasyDairy
|LIFESTYLE||To manage the business so that there is good work/life balance for the family||Paul working long hours seven days a week||• Paul have some time off|
• To have more family time
|• To train up some labour to run the farm when Paul not available|
|FINANCIAL||To grow wealth||Business Planning|
|• To do some future planning for the business|
• Work out investment strategy
• To run the business so that wealth can be created for future opportunities
• Have enough cash flow to service debt, pay bills and drive profit
|• Develop a business plan
• Establish borrowing capacity
• Updating actuals in cash flow budget every month