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BUSINESS TIPS

From our many years of collective experience assisting and advising farmers with their business accounting we are able to come up with some hot tips, which we hope will be useful for everyone, no matter how big or small your rural business.

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Sheep production weaning – mating

 Camille Flack, Vet Services Hawke’s Bay

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If you are breeding sheep, your year starts at weaning. A lot of farmers focus on the average price and weight of lamb going out the gate up until autumn. At this stage, the horse has already bolted. By focusing on that target you are already compromising the ability to do better next year.

The key drivers for profit on a sheep farm are :

·    Kg weaned per hectare (number of lambs weaned per hectare)

·    Weaning weight per lamb

When focusing on adding extra kilograms on your lambs after weaning, it impacts on the kilograms going onto your ewes. When we read a book, we don’t start from the end. Don’t try and make up on lost ground by focusing on your lambs now. Switch your thinking to focus on your ewes from the beginning, and the rest will take care of itself.

Focus on the things we can change. We can’t change the weather, we can’t change the price, but we can change the kilograms going out the gate, and it all happens at the beginning.

Body condition scoring your ewes at weaning means the tail end ewes can be identified. If your ewes have more than 6 weeks of wool on them, the eye is inaccurate and the hand is the measuring tool – see attached leaflet. If your mob of tail end ewes (BCS < 3) can be minimised at mating and lambing, it will bring up your entire flock performance. Your most efficient use of feed is to target your tail end mob. It takes a lot more grass to gain weight in a good condition ewe than that of a thinner/lighter ewe. This targeted feeding approach ensures you make the most gains out of the feed you have. Ewes in body condition score 3 or more are fed maintenance, those less than 3 are preferentially fed to ensure a reduction in tail end ewes at mating.

To lift a ewe BCS by 1, i.e. from 2 to 3, with a weight increase of 7-9 kg, it requires 30kg DM above maintenance. At a growth rate of 100g/day, this increase in condition will take 70-90 days i.e. from weaning to mating. A ewe maintenance requirement is 1–1.2kg DM/day depending on feed quality, paddock contour and existing ewe weight. A ewe weighing 55kg, growing at 100g/day requires 1.54kg DM/day.

Once the mobs have been split, monitoring of ewe condition is important to ensure gains are made and feeding levels adequate. Body condition scoring 50 ewes in the mob monthly or when they pass by the yards, will give you an average BCS which can be monitored.

If more of your ewe flock are at body condition score 3 at mating you will see:

·         Earlier cycling in the breeding period

·         Higher ovulation rates

·         Higher conception rates

·         Heavier lambs at birth

·         Better lactation

·         Wean heavier lambs with higher survival rates.

What about flushing ewes pre-mating?

Flushing pre-mating can also be a way to improve ewe condition and performance. However, flushing requires a lot of good quality herbage in autumn and therefore a great dependence on weather. As the weather is out of our control, a safer goal is to reduce the number of poorer condition ewes before flushing. Then, if feed is available, targeted flushing is the best approach. Ovulation rate is known to increase if live weight is increasing 3-6 weeks prior to mating. If it is not done well, loss of live weight during this period will reduce your ovulation rate. Light ewes are more responsive to a flushing period and gains are greater than in heavier ewes. Therefore, if you have the feed to ‘flush’, the most gains made are with a targeted feeding approach.

Camille Flack

 

Camille is a large animal vet at Vet Services Hastings. She graduated in 2004 and has worked in large animal practices in the North and South Island. What she enjoys most in her work is working with farmers to help them increase production.

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A little planning makes a difference

The forestry sector has been identified as a high-risk industry due to the number of work related accidents and highly publicised fatalities. In fact, during the recent changes in legislation relating to Health and Safety in the Workplace, commentators often cited the forestry sector as one of the key areas where reform was urgently needed. Unfortunately, ACC’s statistics supported this contention.

As a result, Health and Safety guidelines were issued by Worksafe for managing small forest harvests with these applying to farmers/orchardists/lifestylers who have shelter belts, which includes many landowners living rurally.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 requires the landowner or business owner to ensure that as far as is practicable, that the health and safety of workers and other parties while at work, is not put at risk. This is not an obligation that the landowner can contract out. The aim is to lower the number of workplace accidents by ensuring that better planning occurs pre-harvest, that all physical constraints and hazards in a forest are identified and that appropriate steps are taken to manage risks in order to keep everyone safe during the harvest.

The guidelines for Managing a Safe and Healthy Small Forest Harvest are available online and provide an easy to follow process for planning the harvest, considering and identifying the likely hazards, engaging competent professionals, managing risks, completing a harvest plan and monitoring health and safety. We recommend that you review these well before you are considering working in a woodlot/forest or contemplating a harvest.

Worksafe is the health and safety regulator in New Zealand and while their inspectors also investigate incidents, their main objective is providing guidance, advice and information on work health and safety to duty holders and the wider public. For further information and guidance about health and safety, visit Worksafe’s website or call 0800 030 040.

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Using bank feeds in Cashmanager RURAL online

Cashmanager Logo

Bank feeds are a secure connection to your bank that automatically import transactions into your Cashmanager RURAL online program which can save you hours of tedious data entry. This feature is currently available through ANZ, ASB, Westpac and Rabobank.


How do I set up bank feeds?

Before you can print and sign the Bank Feed Authority form, there are a couple of areas that you need to check in your database. Once the authority form has been processed by your bank, transactions will start to arrive into your database, it’s as easy as that!

Step One – check your bank account

  1. Login to your Cashmanager RURAL online farm business.
  2. In the Transaction screen, click on Setup – Bank Accounts.

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  1. Edit an existing bank account, or select New to record a new bank account.

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  1. Enter the bank account number and account name.
  2. Select your bank from the Data Feed Bank field. The Bank Name field will automatically populate with your bank’s name.

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  1. Click OK to save the changes.
  2. Click on the Print button to print the Bank Authority form.

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You will be redirected to the data feeds page on the website, www.cashmanagerrural.nz to Print the Authorisation form.

If you bank with ASB, Rabobank or Westpac you will need to sign the authorisation form and post it to CRS Software, PO Box 692 Masterton.

If you bank with ANZ, you can sign the authorisation form then scan and email it to bankfeeds@crssoftware.co.nz


Step Two – set up the online banking option

OPTIONAL: Choose which details are attached to each transaction i.e. the Particulars, Code and Reference information from the bank, or the note attached to the Cashmanager category or extended codes.

From the transaction screen select Setup > Online Banking.

  1. Select your bank from the dropdown list.
  2. Choose to use the note from the bank or the default note from Cashmanager codes.
  3. Click OK.

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Farmlands Automated Feed

This tool is available when you are using the online version of Cashmanager RURAL and pay your subscription through your Farmlands account. You can have your monthly statement feed directly through to your transactions. To learn more click here.

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