More fertiliser, sheep for greater profits

11 Aug, 2004 10:00 PM

PUT more fertiliser on, run more sheep, make more money - that's the simple formula recommended by JRL Hall & Co consultant James Hall to maximise profits in sheep and wool.

Mr Hall said productivity change in the sector over the last 50 years was a flat line.

"You can argue with that and there are notable exceptions of course, but the bottom line is, sheep and wool hasn't kept up with the other rural industries," he said.

He said dairy and cropping in particular, had made amazing productivity gains.

Benchmarking was essential to increase productivity and ensure the future of the sheep and wool industry, he said.

The major benchmarks hadn't changed for 25 years and included lambing percentage and wool yield per winter-grazed hectare.

"The key and most important benchmark is stocking rate," he said.

"Why? It's simple, if I run more sheep, my potential to make more money from the same amount of land is greater.

"At the end of the day we can convert to either wool or meat but if the stocking rate has increased then we're gonna make more money."

He said growers should immediately try and increase their stocking rate by at least a half a point.

There was absolutely no relation between wool price and profitability.

"A lot of people are saying the wool price is not high enough, it's only $4.50 (/kg), I need $5, well the wool price is actually above its five year average and if you're not making a profit at that level, you should get out," he said.

"My advice when discussing wool cut per head at the pub is hope you have the lowest, because as it decreases, profitability actually goes up.

"It's not wool cut per head, it's wool cut per winter-grazed hectare that matters."

He said running more sheep would often, but not always, require more feed.

"To cope with that we use a relatively simple solution in our farming system - put more fertiliser on," he said.


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