TAKING a more objective approach to the business and increasing on-farm productivity will be two major focus points for Edi beef producers Bill and Georgia Wilson as they mark the first milestone of their progress in the inaugural Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) Challenge.
The Wilsons are part of the group of six beef and sheepmeat producers from across Australia who were selected to participate in the MLA Challenge.
Along with their fellow competitors, they are now spending a year improving efficiency and productivity within their farming operation as part of the program.
Mr and Mrs Wilson own and manage "Riverglen", a 185 hectare property running Angus/Charolais and Speckle Park cattle at Edi, Victoria.
Mr Wilson said he hopes to build on business skills and increase productivity by using the tools available through MLA and the Challenge.
“There are times when we have questioned our decisions and timing, and have learnt some lessons the hard way, but we see the MLA Challenge as an opportunity to help us plan to deal with them all better,” he said.
“We are at a point now where we really need to assess our business to see what we are doing right and where we can afford to improve.”
The Wilsons have spent the first Challenge quarter setting targets and implementing change as well as using the MLA Production Target Tool to work out key decision points and performance indicators for the 12 month challenge period. Their progress will be officially assessed by judges this month.
“Our hope is that by being involved in the Challenge we can look at our business more objectively and make sound decisions that make sense practically, and remove some of the emotion that can come into play at times,” Mr Wilson said.
The Wilson’s first calves arrived recently which began their first key performance period.
They have set targets for their business to be assessed in the second quarter but they are making changes already.
Mr and Mrs Wilson’s assigned mentor Bill Hoffman operates a beef trading enterprise based on 800 head of steers being grown out for the heavy feeder steer market, and he will assist them in meeting their specific goals.
“We’re testing heifers at the moment for pesti virus - our mentor has helped us arrange this,” Mr Wilson said.
“We’ve also done some fencing near the house to monitor the heifers calving and will be checking bull fertility which are all things we’ve never done before.”
The MLA Challenge began in July, with the six Challengers setting individual goals and improvements based on current business performance, which will be measured every three months to determine the inaugural MLA Challenge champion.
The winner receives a bursary to support their ongoing professional development and additional agribusiness services.
“We selected six enthusiastic and driven producers to take up the MLA Challenge to create more productive businesses over the next 12 months,” MLA’s livestock production innovation general manager Peter Vaughan said.
“They have each done a fantastic job so far and really embraced the Challenge.
“We hope that by following the journey of the MLA Challengers, other beef and lamb producers will be motivated to take a closer look at their businesses and have the confidence to use the available resources and tools developed out of industry research to achieve their own goals.”
Each participant’s journey can be followed online for people to track and compare their progress as well as find up-to-date information, tools and resources that are currently being used by competitors in the MLA Challenge.
The MLA Production Target Tool, which was developed specifically for the MLA Challenge, will also be available to producers at the conclusion of the Challenge. For updates, videos and background information on each participant, visit www.mla.com.au/challenge