Hard lessons to be heeded

Owl Farm’s fourth and final Farm Focus Day for the 2016/17 season at the end of May was an opportunity to review the season, and for others in the dairy industry to benefit from the hard lessons learned on farm.

Demonstration Manager Doug Dibley says financially it’s been a difficult year with production and payout down. Underweight heifers, staffing changes through the middle of the season, poor performing pastures and eczema are just some of the major challenges faced by Owl Farm.

“We’ll look in detail at where we ended up, how and why. Looking towards the future, we’ll share our focus and targets for next year, including the significantly lower cost structure that we need to achieve to ensure financial survival in what all are anticipating to be another tough season.”

Owl Farm has shifted its attention to the five P’s – planning and preparation to prevent poor performance. “Last season we didn’t have an entirely effective plan and weren’t prepared for what was to come. This season’s approach is to plan for the worst and hope for the best.”

Doug says that although these may sound negative, he is optimistic about the future. “These are the lessons which all farmers learn early in their journey. We are now in a much better place regard our operating knowledge of the farm. Although we have learned the hard way, we will now be able to plan to ensure we manage these issues and others as best as possible.”

Owl Farm also want share their investment strategy in preparation for the season ahead. Doug acknowledges that some areas of the farm’s cost structure were unsustainable. “All of our investments now are in areas where a solid return has been identified and where it supports our strategic direction.”

Owl Farm gives the farming community access to world class resources, information and on-farm practices. Farm focus days are for farm owners, farm workers and rural professionals to meet, network and share ideas. Join Doug and industry members on 25 May to find out more about lessons learned from last season, planning ahead, and what investments Owl Farm has made to improve its financial performance.

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