Risk Profitability & Resilience Workshops
See below for details of the RPR workshop series which was run throughout 2021.
New workshops for 2022
New risks are presenting themselves with a changing climate…decreasing winter rainfall, increasing temperatures, more variable conditions, drought & frost.
Let’s face it. All farm businesses are different and face a variety of challenges. But it’s not all bad news.
The RPR workshop series hopes to challenge you to prepare your farm business to reduce your risks, take advantage of new opportunities, increase your profitability and increase resilience.
The program consists of workshops, online training, hands-on participation, business training, and mentoring, focussing on the 300-400mm Rainfall regions and developing resilient mixed farming enterprises.
The program is presented by the following speakers:
Graeme Hand – Contemporary grazing including; holistic management, reducing risk, perennial pastures, regeneration, rotational grazing, planning.
In practical terms, this has been shown to:
• Reduce debt and business risk by reducing fluctuations which increases profit over the decade
• Reduce rainfall risk by determining individual recoveries that link up rainfall and temperature events
• Increasing soil health and biodiversity as well as increasing rainfall effectiveness
• Decreases market price risk by massively reducing the cost of production
• Potential to increase soil organic carbon
Steven Cotton – animal management training, genetic selection, breeding values, objectives, feeding, welfare, data & planning.
Steve will be focusing on:
• Looking for low-risk, low-cost opportunities. Grabbing the low hanging fruit, eg scanning, and other management practices
• What makes a business resilient? Exploring various indicators of business health including benchmarking data, case studies, etc.
• Understanding what areas of the enterprise need more work
• Setting SMART targets for genetics, understanding the power of genetic improvement to breed more resilient animals
Elise Bowen – Data collection and analysis, using sheep data for improved selection and management.
Including topics such as:
• Stocktake - where are producers currently at with sheep data? What are some people collecting and how are they using that information?
• Barriers to adoption - discuss participants' reservations with data collection
• Looking outside the square - where can sheep data take you? Case studies to show how a range of producers are using sheep data for both improved animal selection and management decisions
• Difficult times call for action - how you can capitalise on historical data collection when the hard times hit, why it's important to maintain data collection through the good times
• Participant activity - what are the key objectives in your enterprise? What data could be used to assist in moving forward in these objectives? Progress to developing a data collection calendar, identify what equipment and expertise is required and the plan for data analysis and reporting
Steven Hobbs – Providing examples of data collection, analysis, and how that information is used to make management decisions. These include assessing traits such as growth rates, fertility, fecundity, wool cut, identifying core breeding stock & tracking individual animal profitability. Will also host workshops allowing participants to familiarise themselves in the sheep yards with “hands-on” activities including data collection, setting up and using EID & auto drafter, etc.
The outcome of this project is to skill and empower people to be able to make sound decisions in the face of climate change-induced risk.
Fully funded through the Sustainability Fund in partnership with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. Delivered by Graeme Hand, Elise Bowen and Steve Cotton.
Examples of the practical sessions that were run during the course in 2021. Unfortunately, due to COVID restrictions, we were unable to have onsite participation at all practical sessions, however, we were able to share these videos with participants.
Following the conclusion of the “Risk, Profitability and Resilience in a changing climate” workshop series, an evaluation of the program was conducted using pre & post participant surveys.
A strong desire was expressed by participants to be involved in future practical workshops to learn how to establish, implement and manage “Climate adapted grazing” techniques and practices.
Investing in suitable infrastructure
An increased understanding of stock densities, pasture utilisation and recovery times
Selecting and breeding animals that are suitable for “Contemporary grazing”
Clarify and record direction & progress towards risk, profitability, and resilience.
Design, set up and baseline monitor safe to fail trails on each property.
Options to reduce risk – debt, seasonal and market price.
Identifying key steps to increase profitability of main enterprises
Where appropriate develop a grazing plan that increases landscape function and regenerates perennial grasslands
Making rotational grazing work in cropping paddocks through the use of a semi-permanent electric fence in conjunction with tread-in posts and electrical reels to break down the paddock into smaller segments.
In this example the stocking rate is 600 ewes to the hectare with a shift based on gut fill (approximately every 2 days).
The sheep are remotely monitored using Wi-Fi cameras to reduce the amount of time required for physical visits.