Checklist for tight times

13 Jun, 2016 11:14 AM
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Advice on grazing management to make the most of winter pastures is available through the Tactics for Tight Times program.
If farmers feel they need more support, they can register for Taking Stock.
Advice on grazing management to make the most of winter pastures is available through the Tactics for Tight Times program.

Dairy Australia’s ‘Tactics for Tight Times’ initiative has released a special checklist to assist dairyfarmers in formulating a plan for winter.

The farm advisory team at Dairy Australia has worked with dairyfarmers and consultants to develop a comprehensive checklist that is broken down into manageable areas of the farm operation.

With recent changes to the milk price in the south-eastern states finance is a priority.

Finances involve more than just budgets; they also include discussions with all those people and organisation with which the farm has financial relationships.

This includes banks, suppliers, creditors and debtors.

All have a part to play in helping to ensure the farm business continues to operate well.

Many farms use a financial adviser whose support will be at a premium at this time.

Others do their own budgeting.

For many farmers DairyBase www.dairybase.com.au) developed by Dairy Australia will be a useful additional tool when doing annual budgeting and analysing farm performance.

“If farmers feel they need more support, they can register for Taking Stock through their local Regional Development Program,” Dairy Australia Program manager Neil Webster said.

“Taking Stock is delivered one-on-one, over the kitchen table, to assist farmers to identify where they are now and what the next, most important decisions are for them.”

With the emphasis firmly on people, the checklist encourages dairyfarmers to take positive steps to ensure they and their families and staff are being looked after.

Attending or joining a discussion group can help to find out what others are doing and how they’re coping.

It is also a good way to see that no one is going through difficult times alone.

“It’s important to make sure you have a social life,” Mr Webster said.

“Sometimes when you’re under a lot of pressure it’s easier to avoid other people.

"But getting out and talking or having a meal with others gives you an opportunity to share your thoughts and feelings.

"You find you have more in common with others than you think.”

There is much more on people, on adjusting staffing arrangements and keeping your people informed.

In addition, the checklist covers the many options for winter feeding including grazing rotations, checking pasture leaf stage as animals graze paddocks and using nitrogen effectively.

For more information on managing through tough times, visit the People in Dairy website/ .

The hay and grain report commissioned by Dairy Australia provides an independent and timely assessment of hay and grain markets in each dairying region.

The report is updated 40 weeks per year and is available free at http://www.dairyaustralia.com.au/Pastures-and-Feeding/Supplements/Hay-and-grain-report.aspx.

Other areas covered in the winter checklist include trimming costs across the business and managing your herd’s health and welfare.

“The herd is the second largest asset on a dairy farm,” Mr Webster said.

“Lost herd health can have detrimental consequences that may take many years to recover from.”

Visit http://tftt.dairyaustralia.com.au / for more information.

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