Gus's Musings

November 16, 2014

Heads up! Opportunity ahead

As I have said many times before it is wonderful when farmers proudly say they are ethical or provide good animal welfare, organic, naturally grown and many other terms that help describe some of the skills associated with farming.  This to me is peer group pressure at work, I do feel inadequate as a farmer and I consider that a great place as I will always strive to succeed and achieve better results for our livestock our land and importantly, us.

I don’t understand why some people feel that if one farmer says they excel in an area such as animal welfare how automatically that means others are bad.  Even if they say that others farmers are bad it is usually all relative, as with any issue if you are prepared to accept that you aren’t as good as you can be, that is then an opportunity.  I guess one of the main reasons I have trouble understanding this attitude is that I see it as important to continually improve, you never feel comfortable learning new things, that is part of the excitement.

There are so many opportunities to improve in some of the skill areas that we take for granted, for example:

  • Improved livestock handling can improve weight gains by as much as 50%.
  • Through improved handling of stock you could build a fantastic set of yards for a fraction of the price, no need for all the so called fancy designs.
  • Through better livestock handling your fencing costs can also be reduced by at least 50%
  • Through providing a more diverse pasture base we can reduce or even stop drenching and/or providing supplements, the flow on effect means those eating the food can reduce their supplements.
  • Imagine sowing a winter cereal crop into a summer perennial cover crop reducing chemical, fertilizer and machinery costs,
  • You can reduce your overhead costs by redesigning the operation of your business
  • By managing your business respecting everyone’s values your productivity increases


As you will notice, none of these options even mention the extra returns you can receive by marketing those qualities, they could be significant.  I’m sure that there are many other opportunities out there that are disguised as criticism.  By keeping a positive attitude and accepting these opportunities rather than hitting them back at the proponent with a nasty barb, you may be pleasantly surprised the gains you and your farm can make.


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