PA Publications

Decile Report 2021

The price information in this booklet is used to its maximum potential when evaluating daily grain prices. The Decile Report provides grain price information that is independently generated, from a credible source, to create confidence when implementing your grain marketing plan.


Farm Salary Survey Report

An insight into remuneration packages and farm labour trends

Released May 2021

To attract and retain farm employees in a tight labour market, you need to offer competitive wages and conditions. 

It can be difficult to do this if you don’t know what the industry standard is, or what other similar farm businesses are offering for the same positions. 



SnapShot Combined Report 2020/21

The SnapShot Combined Report collates SnapShot benchmarking data from across Southern Australia to look at trends in profitability from the past management year. This gives those working within the ag sector insights into what impacted agricultural businesses profit levels and their ability to perform well. Drawing on years of experience in benchmarking and work on Australia-wide industry projects, the Combined report provides a robust analysis of what makes farm businesses tick.

Interested in more details, order the report below.



Chicken Litter User's Guide

The Chicken Litter User’s Guide is a guide to utilising spent litter from poultry farms as fertiliser in broadacre cropping systems. The guide provides information on nutrient content of litter, application strategies, economics and includes case studies on growers utilising spent litter on broadacre farms.
Download full user's guide

Organic by-product value calculator (Poo Calc)

Poo Calc is an Excel-based tool for evaluating the economics of using chicken litter and other manure products as fertiliser. It values the nutrients contained in the manure compared to supplying them in conventional fertiliser after taking into account  purchasing, transport and spreading costs.
Download Poo Calc

A profit first approach to precision agriculture (GRDC)

Take home messages:

  • Well planned and implemented precision agriculture (PA) helps capture farm profit and conversely, poorly planned and implemented PA can erode farm profit.
  • The recipe for profitable PA adoption will be different for each farm business.
  • PA information sourced from outside the farm business informs what’s possible, while information from inside the farm business informs what’s most likely to be profitable.
  • Using the collective strengths of those inside your farm business and your service providers increases the chances of PA adding to profit.

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Checking-off the value of precision agriculture technologies (GRDC)

Precision agriculture (PA) has seen a range of advances in technology. It provides exciting avenues for many grain growers, with autosteer, yield mapping and controlled traffic farming (CTF) becoming common.

It is advised to objectively analyse these technologies and tools, and their impact, before going ahead and investing in PA systems, as some options have a high capital cost with significant upfront investment.
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Pay-offs possible by taking a profit-first approach to precision agriculture (GRDC)

A GRDC investment looking into the economics of precision agriculture (PA) in the southern cropping region has identified three broad pathways to profit from implementing the practice.

The investment 'Assessing the economic value of precision agricultural tools for grain farming businesses in the southern region' is being led by Rural Directions agribusiness consultant Patrick Redden and Think Agri founder Kate Burke.
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Advisory Boards

What is an Advisory Board?

As businesses increase in scale, often the owners find themselves moving from a production manager to a business manager. This is typified by owners spending more time managing the business and the people, and less time actually doing the physical operations.

When a business is at this point of development there are substantial benefits associated with forming an advisory board. The wisdom that can be provided by a small board of peers, advisors or mentors can provide a competitive advantage as depth of thinking is increased.

What does an Advisory Board cover?

Advisory Boards are a management process for your business. They are a proactive forum for the business to develop strategy, evaluate risks and monitor implementation of key actions.

For those not part of an Advisory Board, it can be hard to visualise what happens at an Advisory Board meeting. To assist with this, we have provided an overview of the common themes, issues, discussions and actions that occur at an Advisory Board.

Advisory Board facilitating succession transition

Succession is a key part of all businesses, it is required to ensure the business continues beyond the founding partner/s.

Agriculture traditionally views succession as the transfer of assets such as land to the next generation. Rural Directions views succession as broader than this. Succession is the successful and viable transition of business management and operations to the next generation. This is called management succession.

Contact Pinion Advisory on 1300 746 466 for more information on our Advisory Board service.

Case Study - Professionalising the business through an Advisory Board

Scott Campbell, of Brecon Proprietors at Keith are producers of quality lucerne seed, grain, prime lamb and wool in the south east region of SA.

Scott has been involved in Rural Directions Advisory Board Service since 2008. During this time the Campbell family has been able to grow their business and labour force with assistance from the advisory board. This is what Scott had to say about the service.
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SnapShot Profit Drivers

All businesses should aim to make a profit. Profit gives your business options which may include making capital improvements, such as new machinery or sheds, allows for rewards for the business owners, and helps facilitate succession and retirement planning. Developing a profitable business also provides opportunity to fund business growth.
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Machinery Investment Ratio

Machinery investment ratio is the measure of machinery capitalisation in your business. It indicates what your business has invested into plant and equipment, in comparison with the level of total income generated by the business. Ideally, businesses should be operating at a machinery investment ratio below 0.8:1.
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Cropping Zone - Management Guideline

The purpose of these Management Guidelines are to assist growers to assess the performance of their business against a data set from their region and to help identify the key issues that need to be addressed to lift performance.

This report identifies the key management affected profit drivers by agro-ecological zone and provides some guidelines around how growers can manage them. The profit drivers have been identified through the collection of more than 300 benchmarking datasets nationally. These benchmarking datasets have been analysed by the respective project partners to identify the key management affected profit drivers by agro-ecological zone. The quantitative benchmarking analysis has also been complemented by a qualitative survey process with grain growers across each region.
More information

An International Benchmarking Comparison of Australian Crop Production and Profitability

Key Messages

Compared to other wheat growing regions in the world:

  • Australian wheat production costs and profitability are comparable to that in other grain growing regions of the world.
  • Australian wheat yields have the highest level of variation.


To compare the profitability and costs of wheat production in Australia to other regions in the world through the evaluation of data from the international cash crop benchmarking network, agri Benchmark for the seasons of 2011 to 2015.
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Business and Strategic Planning

Why do I need a business plan?

We often get asked the question, “why do I need a business plan?”

Often the recognition of the need to work through a business planning process is identified by an outsider because the people within the business are busy with day to day activities and have not had time to see the need.
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Share farming and leasing - some things to consider

Lots of leasing and share farming opportunities have surfaced recently. In some parts of the state these opportunities are so prevalent that some clients may be presented with 3-4 deals to consider. Having a process for evaluating these deals easily and effectively is critical, as a business can grow too quickly by taking them all on in one go.

Share farming involves the land owner and share farmer working together to manage, grow, harvest and market a crop.
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Total cost of ownership important in truck purchase decisions (GRDC)

A big rig might well be the pride and joy of some growers, however doing the appropriate sums and taking an objective approach can help determine what truck combination to buy or if contract services will suffice.

Rural Directions managing director and South Australian grower David Heinjus says many farmers have a passion for trucks and want to have control over logistics and management.
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Utilising machinery to increase profit (GRDC)

Key points

  • A machinery investment to income ratio of 0.8:1 is realistic and achievable. This means that for every $0.80 invested in machinery there is $1 of income generated
  • Top 20 per cent grain producers are achieving total plant, machinery and labour cost of close to 25 per cent of income, compared to 35 to 40 per cent for the average grower. Essentially this means they are leveraging more from their investment in less machinery and labour
  • Timeliness and operational standards need not be compromised by having an efficient level of machinery investment

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Grain Marketing

Prices Direct and Harvest Direct SMS Codes

View the code sheet for buyers, port zone, commodity, delivery location, price change indicators and season. It also includes individual buyer contact details.
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Modern grain marketing - 13 principles to follow

The purpose of this fact sheet is to show how taking the emotion out of grain marketing decisions contributes to sound farm business management.

The agribusiness consultants within Rural Directions work with your business to help you understand supply chain complexity, reduce stress and emotion in decision making and give you confidence in your grain business.
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Securing your Grain with the PPSA

The newly introduced Personal Property Security (PPS) Act has the potential to both positively and negatively affect your business.

In order to use the PPS Act to your benefit, and as a Grain Marketing Service and GrainBid client, we will register your grains security interest on the Personal Property Security Register (PPSR). This means you can maintain your claim over the asset title.
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Human Resources

Employ on attitude, train on skills: Tips for farm recruitment (GRDC)

Agribusiness consultant Natasha Searle has observed firsthand the challenges growers experience finding the ‘right staff’ for their farming operation.

Speaking at the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Farm Business Updates in regional New South Wales recently the Dubbo-based specialist from Rural Directions urged growers to re-assess their approach to managing people within their business.

“Growers are encouraged to look within, reviewing their own people and business management capabilities, and to have a very clear idea about the skillsets and attributes they need in a prospective employee and then ‘employ on attitude and train on skills’,” Mrs Searle said.
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What are reasonable additional hours?

It is common for full-time farm employees to work more than 38 hours per week. This is considered normal within the agricultural industry. In fact, the 2018 Rural Directions Salary Survey reported the average hours worked per week for an Assistant Manager was 47 hours.
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Practical ways to manage fatigue

As with most safety aspects, managing fatigue starts with the right workplace culture. This is a culture where:

  • It is ok to ask for time off when feeling fatigued and not fit for work
  • There is situational management of fatigue
  • The symptoms of fatigue are monitored, recognised and appropriate action taken
  • There is flexibility in management of work around adverse weather, weekends and peak workloads, like harvest
  • It is ok to talk about fatigue and its risks to both human and machinery assets
  • Rosters for peak periods are developed and executed to meet personnel, equipment, season and market requirements.

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Straightforward solutions for common farm safety requirements

This fact sheet has been designed to provide some straightforward solutions that you can apply on farm to manage risks.
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Workplace health and safety starter

In South Australia 4.5% of the total workforce works in agriculture; however, almost 19% of workplace deaths occur on farms.

This means South Australian farmers are being fatally injured at a rate of almost five times their share of the workforce. On top of the high fatality rate, every week nine South Australian primary producers are injured seriously enough to access work injury insurance. The majority of fatalities and serious injuries are preventable.
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