LIC | Wise Farming Strategies from FarmWise - Part 2

Wise Farming Strategies from FarmWise - Part 2

Strategies from FarmWise to help during these tough times

Staff Redundancies

  • Seek advice from an employment professional if you need to restructure farm labour
  • Follow the correct procedure as laid out in the agreement or as per legal requirements.
  • Carry out the dismissal with compassion, and make the process as fair as possible.
  • Ensure the farm can still run with the lower number of staff.
  • Beware of cutting staff numbers to levels where health, safety and well-being could be compromised - this can be a concern if it leaves a gap in experience.
    • If reducing staff numbers, do you offset this with moving to once a day milking or does the Owner/Sharemilker and/or wider family step into that role – and do they want to?

Fertiliser Spend

  • Be accurate with placement of all applications.
  • Maximise nitrogen, minimise phosphate, optimise potassium, sulphur and lime.
    • N at the current price of 12 ¢/kgDM is still the cheapest feed.
    • P is the most expensive nutrient. It generally has minimal leaching and it can be reduced or removed from the plan for 1-2 seasons if levels are good – without affecting current season pasture growth.
    • Potash and sulphur can leach readily.  Limiting their applications will have a direct effect on current season production. If levels of K & S are reduced, ensure the nutrients are spread in several applications to be plant available, rather than any excess stored in the soil longer term.  K applications are generally best applied in spring rather than autumn.
  • Lime – even 1 t/ha will help in areas of low pH, but full applications will be required long term if pH is very low.

Milking Frequency

  • Use OAD or 3in2 as options to reduce feed demand, protect production and BCS targets, and get the best mating results and staff relief.  
    • Consider OAD for the first 2-3 weeks of lactation if under pressure with feed, labour or the weather (limited whole season production effect).
  • If your system and financial indicators allow, consider OAD for the whole season.  Carefully weigh up if savings will offset any possible reduction in production if changing this season.
  • You may be able to reduce staffing to accommodate these changes.


  • Negotiate and try and put them on a monthly/regular payment as you will need to use them at some stage e.g. silage contractors. 
  • Keep creditors updated of your position, and talk to them regularly i.e. at least monthly.  They will be hurting too.


  • Don’t do anything that will affect the long-term sustainability of the business.
  • Trim the “fat”, and not the “muscle”.
  • Any action or expenditure down this season stays in this season so that losses are minimised as much as possible.

The strategies outlined above will be added to and expanded upon as the season unfolds.  Adopt and adapt these strategies appropriately to suit the circumstances of your own business.  

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