Free benchmarking and profit assessment of your farm business

Sheep grazing in a paddock

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The Livestock Farm Monitor Project (LFMP) estimates the economic performance of surveyed sheep and cattle farms by collecting detailed physical and financial farm information. Agriculture Victoria is offering sheep and beef producers the opportunity to participate in this respected, rigorous and long running benchmarking program. Positions are available for individual farms and farm discussion groups across Victoria for the 2019-20 LFMP. Participation is free and all information is treated as highly confidential. 

The LFMP data can help identify the critical physical and financial variables on your farm to inform decision making. By understanding where you are now you can better estimate the impact of changes in the future. 

Farmers who participated in the 2018-19 LFMP provided the following feedback on their experience in the project: 

Great opportunity to sit back and look at your figures with someone to talk over. Different input costs are surprising when we look at each one at the end of the financial year, otherwise the info just goes to the accountant, without looking closely at them. Important when industry look at costs of production from a trusted source – South-West Farmer 

“I used the LFMP individual farm report to go to the bank and help with extending a loan. It provided the bank with an independent report of my farm’s performance” – Gippsland Farmer 

For further information about getting involved please contact: 

Sam Henty at Agriculture Victoria  – sam.henty@agriculture.vic.gov.au 

2018-19 LFMP Results  

The 2018-19 Victorian Livestock Farm Monitor Project Annual Report and summary are now available at the Agriculture Victoria website. 

Results show it was a challenging year for sheep and beef farms, particularly those located in Gippsland and Northern Victoria. Below average rainfall across most of the state reduced pasture availability, increased the reliance on supplementary feed, and contributed to higher feed costs.  On average, farm profits decreased in 2018-19 compared to the previous year with mixed performance across the regions. Many surveyed farms in Gippsland and Northern Victoria de-stocked to reduce feed costs and ease cashflow deficits while farms in the South West maintained stock numbers and production. 

Return on Assets graph from beef and sheep farms from 2018-19 LFM

Figure 1. Return on Assets from beef and sheep farms who participated in the 2018-19 Livestock Farm Monitor Project

 

2018-19 Regional Breakdown

South-West surveyed farms 

Average return on assets on surveyed South West farms was four per cent, with all but one farm recording a positive result. Favourable market prices for lamb and wool increased average gross farm income to the highest levels reported in 49-years of the survey.  The strong market signals prompted South-West farmers to supplement livestock diets with on-farm feed reserves and purchased feed and compensate for reduced pasture availability.  Increases in the quantity of purchased feed and prices paid for the feed increased average variable costs to the highest level recorded in 49-years of the survey. 

Northern surveyed farms 

Average return on assets was down to 0.5 per cent, with a very broad range, from -12.5 to 7.7 per cent across the surveyed farms. Participant farmers reduced stock numbers and fed supplementary feed to manage low pasture availability contributing to the higher costs.  The variability of beef market prices and high supplementary feed prices sent signals for farmers to minimise their losses and they produced lower quantities of beef per hectare.  The high proportion of beef enterprises in the Northern sample contributed to the average decline in farm profits for the region.   

Gippsland surveyed farms 

Average return on assets fell to -1.9 per cent for surveyed farms in the region. The dry 12 months leading into the 2018 spring reduced pasture growth, placing an increased dependence on purchased supplementary feed. This increased variable costs to the highest levels recorded in Gippsland for the 15-years of the project. Many surveyed farms de-stocked to manage the elevated feed prices and dry conditions, which resulted in negative livestock trading accounts impacting business wealth and financial performance. 

Further Information

The 2018-19 Livestock Farm Monitor report, and previous years reports, can be found on the Agriculture Victoria website.

Read our summary and case study articles from the 2017-18 report:

2017-18 Livestock Farm Monitor Project Data is Now Available

LFMP Case Study: Top performing farm focuses on what they enjoy

Contact Sam Henty for further information or to find out how you can get involved at sam.henty@agriculture.vic.gov.au.

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