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Mid-Season Check-In: Is Your Farm Set for Success in 2021?




It’s the start of a new year and the perfect time to take stock of how your business is tracking. Forget New Years resolutions that only last a few weeks – we’re talking about a good, solid planning session to help you cement the lessons and plan for success for the remainder of the season.



Why is mid-season planning important?


Mid-season assessment and planning is crucial for business success because it allows you to measure how well you are tracking against your budgets and goals while you still have time to influence the end-of-season outcome.


After all, if you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it!


H3 How to check in on current performance

First of all, gather all your information together in one place. Remember to include your assigned budgets and any current performance statistics you can get your hands on.


For each area, consider:

- Are you under or over budget?

- What factors contributed to this?

- Were these factors avoidable or unavoidable? Consider how even issues that were unavoidable in the current season can be avoided in future.



Looking forward to the remainder of the season


Now that you know where you stand, you’ll know how far you are from achieving your goals for the season. This can feel overwhelming if you’ve discovered big deficits, but the good news is that now you’re in a great position to improve.


For each area, consider:

- How far under or over your mid-season goal are you?

- What strategies can you use to close the gap on any underperforming areas?

- Are any of the factors that caused this gap likely to continue or crop up again this season?

- If these are negative impacts, what can you put in place right now to make sure they don’t reoccur or to minimise their impact if they do?

- If these are positive impacts, how can you continue the favourable trend?





Key areas you should be assessing


While every farm business has a unique level of detail in their planning and budgeting processes, there are basic indicators that every farmer should assess regularly:

- Milk income

- Animal health

- Fertiliser

- Supplementary feed

- Wages

- Repairs & Maintenance


In addition to the above assessment questions, here are some additional things you might like to think about.



Animal health


Animal health expenses can vary widely, so it is important to optimise herd immunity. This helps reduce animal health and veterinary costs while still keeping your herd in tip-top shape – and enjoying the benefits a healthy herd provides.


Have you experienced any significant animal health events on farm this year? Consider the cause and put strategies and policies in place right away to prevent it from happening again.



Fertiliser


Being under or over budget on fertiliser isn’t always the whole story. To measure your performance more fully, take the time to consider whether your applications have had the desired effect.


For example, you may be under budget because your soli fertility is better than expected. In this case, trying to ‘use up’ your budget in the second half of the season can lead to over-application. This can negatively impact your business, the farm and the surrounding environment.



Supplementary feed


Your choice of feed mix can have far-reaching impacts not only on your supplementary feed budget, but also on your performance across your business. It influences your milk production, animal health budget and breeding success. Is your feed mix delivering?


To optimise your performance in these areas, it’s worth making sure you include a quality probiotic, digestive enzymes and yeast in your mix on an ongoing basis. This can boost immunity, reduce grain costs and improve outcomes on-farm. For an all-in-one, easy to use solution, contact us today.



Wages


Labour costs can provide a significant variable, depending on how your business is set up. Are you utilising your staff effectively?


If your overtime payments are too high or staff are becoming fatigued, you may benefit from bring another team member on board. On the other hand, consider whether all your staff are being fully utilised. Could you train a junior staff member to take on a new task?



Repairs & Maintenance


If you’ve had any big blow-outs, be honest with yourself. Did the equipment look ready to pack it in at the beginning of the season? If so, consider budgeting for these things in future.



Once you’ve checked in on your performance and planned the rest of your season, you’ll probably be feeling more in control of your business performance.

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