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Land and Environment : Agribusiness Assoc. of Australia

Australian Farm Business Management Journal:

AFBM Journal offers a publication venue for scientists working in the area of farm business management and the related areas of agricultural technology and farming systems.The content focuses on areas of interest to farm business, farming systems and agricultural technology management professionals.


Volume 11 - 2014

Page 1 - 18: T Jackson, J Heard and B Malcolm

System changes to a lamb farm in south-east Victoria: some pre-experimental modelling

There is limited capital available to spend on livestock research programs. Consequently, it is important to estimate the potential economic impact of changing on-farm factors within farm systems at the outset, to identify which changes may have big payoffs and which ones look less attractive. We present the results of some pre-experimental modelling to inform on the most suitable targets for research efforts in the Victorian lamb industry. Increased stocking rate through improved weaning percentage generated the highest average annual profit after interest and tax of all the scenarios investigated, increasing average annual net profit from the base farm system by 40%. Potentially attractive innovations that allow earlier mating, increased growth rates, increased lamb feed efficiency, faster lamb turnoff, reduced animal health costs and increased ewe fleece weight did not rank as highly in terms of profit and risk as the traditional, well known innovations.

Page 19 - 40: L Trapnell and B Malcolm

Expected benefits on and off farm from including lucerne (Medicago sativa) in crop rotations on the Broken Plains of north-eastern Victoria

Deep drainage to groundwater in the Broken Plains area has been predicted to bring the watertable to within two metres of the surface over the next 66 years. However, with reduced rainfall as a result of climate change, this may not happen for 113 years. The rising watertable will lead to waterlogging and dryland salinity. A solution is to introduce deep-rooted perennial species such as lucerne. Lucerne extracts more water than annual crops and pasture. Results of this analysis show that private investment decisions to change to cropping with lucerne as the legume component in the crop sequence, instead of subterranean clover, increases expected profitability and cumulative net cash flow of crop sequences. Still, farmers in this area generally believe that lucerne is riskier than annual legume pastures which constitutes a barrier to its widespread adoption. From the public perspective, keeping watertables below two metres prevents damage to infrastructure, roads, wetlands and bio-diversity. Policy instruments may be required to overcome farmers' resistance to growing lucerne, especially for them to do so on the 50 per cent of the arable area of the Broken Plains that would need to be growing lucerne to prevent watertables rising to the surface. The amount of grants per hectare of lucerne that would be required to achieve 50 per cent of the land growing lucerne are calculated.

Page 41 - 46: KS Pollock, LJ Fragar and G Griffith

Occupational Health and Safety on Australian Farms:   1. Farmers’ Perceptions of Major Hazards

A subset of data from a larger survey of 335 farm enterprises throughout New South Wales was examined, focusing specifically on farmers’ perceptions about major hazards on Australian farms. The data collected from participating enterprises clearly demonstrate that there is a disconnect between what farmers perceive as the risks on their farm and what hazards and risks cause the highest rates of fatalities in Australian agriculture. For example, previous research has shown that tractors were the most commonly reported agent of death by injury on Australian farms over the period 2001–04, accounting for 19 per cent of fatalities, followed by all-terrain-vehicles (ATVs). However, a frequency analysis of identified risks or hazards by study participants, rated tractors at 20th, with ATVs even further down the list at 27th; just 11 of the 335 enterprises rated ATVs as a risk on their farms. The most frequently reported injury agent by study participants was livestock handling and stockyards, followed by silos and chemical handling. While these agents are seen commonly in farm safety campaigns and promotions due to the legislative requirements with training and operation, with the exception of livestock handling, they do not feature highly in injury hospitalisation, and none of these agents feature in the causation of deaths on farms.

Paper 47 - 56: KS Pollock, LJ Fragar and G Griffith

Occupational Health and Safety on Australian Farms: 2. Improved Management and the Driving Forces for Practice Change

A subset of data from a broader, longitudinal study of 335 farm enterprises throughout New South Wales, Australia, was examined focusing on the changes farmers were making to farm health and safety and the motivating drivers behind those changes. The most frequently reported changes to health and safety by participating farm enterprises were shearing shed safety improvements, improved chemical safety and handling, purchasing new equipment or upgrading existing equipment, greater provision and access to personal protective equipment and improving safety of stockyards and procedures. When the drivers behind the changes to farm practice were assessed, occupational health and safety requirements or legislation were the most frequently reported by participating farm enterprises, followed by increased safety awareness or consciousness, a general desire to improve safety and standards on their farm, the realisation or identification of a risk or hazard and to gain improved efficiency or cost savings. The research has questioned some preconceived ideas relating to farmers’ perceptions, attitudes and practices in relation to farm safety and has identified potential new approaches for increasing adoption and implementation of farm safety recommendations.



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