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From the Managing Director

As we head into our 22nd year in business, 2018 represents the most diverse outcome year I have ever seen. Across the state we have clients who hardly harvested any grain, while others will have their best year ever. It is certainly the full range. One day we are looking at amazing profits and future-proofing opportunities, then the next day is a discussion about “how are we going to make all this work…”.

The season did not discriminate; there was very good country that did not perform, while slightly marginal country (when combined with excellent management) cleaned up. I am thankful much of the state received good August rainfall and we all had excellent commodity prices. Despite the outcome we all need to look positively to the future.

2018 in review

James Hillcoat
2018 was a year of production variability. The combination of drought, frost and rain resulted in a very challenging business environment. We have clients with grain and, at the same time, clients with reduced production. We have clients that, whilst their production was below average, were genuinely surprised with how much grain was produced with so little rainfall.
2018 will mean different things for all, depending on various circumstances and regions. Some will be good and some will be financially challenging. As grain marketing consultants, we routinely get to see all of this. One phone call being about grain contract washouts and the next selling grain. Born in the UK and moving to Australia for study then a career in the Agricultural sector, I knew that at some time I would experience a drought (and drought market). So, by way of review of the 2018/19 season, I will write about my personal thoughts and observations whilst accepting that everyone will remember something different from the 2018/19 season. 

SnapShot™ Combined Report and update

The 2017 SnapShot™ Combined Report is out now detailing the results from our SnapShot™ database. The results have shown that key profit drivers still hold true with the most profitable businesses performing in all key benchmarks yet again.
There were 87 farms included in the report, all of which were family owned. 33 were cropping only, 53 were mixed (cropping and livestock) and 1 was livestock only. The results showed a large range in profitability. The top 20% of businesses ranked on return on equity achieved a return on equity of 7.66%, whilst the average was only 1.95%. There was a large range in farm size, from 317 to 15,459 hectares managed. This was made up of an average of 69% owned land, 22% leased and 10% share farmed. This was similar for the top 20%.

Barriers to benchmarking survey - please provide input

Tara Graetz is researching the barriers to benchmarking as a part of her Future Livestock Consulting Internship. She has designed a short survey (it will only take 10 minutes), link below, that looks at identifying and gaining a better understanding of the barriers to benchmarking. This includes barriers for producers that are currently benchmarking, those that have benchmarked in the past, and those who haven't benchmarked at all. The learning from this survey will drive the development of producer and industry factsheets, and further project outputs.

2018 Farm Salary Survey Report - pre order open

Data collection for the Rural Directions Farm Salary Survey closed in late 2018. This edition of the salary survey saw the highest level of participation so far. This rise highlights the increasing importance that employers are placing on ensuring sound HR practices within their businesses.

Staff profile - Rebekah Starick

Graduate Agribusiness Consultant (Grain Marketing)

What does this mean (in a nutshell): Working with the grain marketing team and learning lots of new things

Favourite food: Tacos

Favourite book: Most books by Stephen King, IT is fantastic

2 people I would invite to dinner are: Catherine Marriott and Stephen King

Favourite karaoke song: Nosebleed Section by The Hilltop Hoods

Ultimate travel destination: Northern Australia - I’ve always wanted to go

Happiness is ... a good glass of red wine (Barossa for the win)

Staff profile - Jana Dixon

Graduate Agribusiness Consultant (Agronomy)

What does this mean (in a nutshell): Completing the Graduate Program, working particularly with the Agronomy team

Favourite food: Sushi

Favourite book: The Storyteller - Jodi Picoult

Favouite movie star: Ryan Gosling

Favourite karaoke song: Lose Yourself - Eminem

What’s your favourite beauty secret? Getting at least 8hrs sleep (excluding weekends)

Happiness is ... watching the sunrise or set

Employee exchange program - George Lane

Well, as I sit here in England, looking out of the office window at snow falling and the freezing temperatures, it seems like a very long time ago since I had my four week stint with Rural Directions, and it’s fair to say that I am struggling to envisage the temperatures which South Australia has experienced throughout January.

Here at Brown & Co, we run a series of spring seminars, whereby I will be presenting to an audience of farmers my experiences and learnings from my trip to South Australia and, to be honest, I do not know where to start! As David Heinjus said to me in my first week at Rural Directions, a mind expanded, never goes back to its original size. This couldn’t be closer to the truth!

RURAL LADIES!! #PlantASeedForSafety

Want to be a part of the #PlantASeedForSafety campaign and have YOUR story showcased, so rural men are inclined to #SaveALife... and listen to their wife?

Click here to SUBMIT YOUR STORY, to CELEBRATE rural women and to AMPLIFY the improvement of work health and safety in rural industries. For all other enquiries please send an email

You can follow the South Australian 2018 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award Winner - Alex Thomas - and the #PlantASeedForSafety campaign on Facebook @plantaseedforsafety, Instagram @plantaseedforsafety and/or Twitter @AlexThomasPL.

Agronomy Service

Find out the benefits that our Agronomy service has provided to one of our clients. Our agronomy service provides independent advice with a whole of business focus. Click on the image below to watch.

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© Rural Directions Pty Ltd 2019 Australian Financial Services Licence Number 221556
Disclaimer: Whilst every care is taken to compile this newsletter Rural Directions Pty Ltd, its officers and representatives advise that they shall not be liable in any way what so ever for any loss or damage suffered by any person as a result of reliance of whether such loss or damage arises from the negligence or misrepresentation or any other omission of the publisher.