Monthly Archives June 2019

Breaking Down Borrowing: Pain or Necessity? 

This event is in the past. Watch the recording here.

Did you miss getting the latest info on Ag borrowing from CQUniversity last week? Never fear, the recording is here!

Posted by Future Farmers Network on Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Want to hear about the big questions agribusinesses need to tackle when considering a loan? 

Future Farmers Network and CQU Australia are pleased to be delivering a short free webinar for young agriculture professionals that provides a review of the implications of borrowings and what different legal structures mean in terms of borrowing.

The webinar will be led by CQU Australia lecturer, Desley Pidgeon – a qualified financial planner who has worked predominately in Agribusiness banking.

Register now to understand the hidden implications of borrowing, determine how your business structure affects your loan status and learn the implications of debt for trusts, partnerships and family business structures.

FFN and CQU warmly invite you to submit questions through the registration process so that we can adapt the webinar appropriately.

Special thanks to FFN Bronze Partner RuralBiz Training for supplying the webinar technology.

The webinar will be held on 4 July 2019 at 6pm AEST

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2019 has seen FFN partner with Charles Sturt University to provide FFN members with access to a series of the University’s studies directly relevant to young farmers. This third study looks at Increasing Lamb Survival to Boost Production. Please contact CSU or FFN should you wish to find out more.

Increasing lamb survival to boost production
Lamb prices are currently soaring – just imagine if you had 20 percent more of them in the paddock at marking time.

One-in-five lambs born in Australia die within days of birth, costing the industry over $1 billion each year, so improving the marking rate can make a big difference to the productivity and profitability of a sheep and wool enterprise.

It’s a key area of research at the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, an alliance between Charles Sturt University and the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI).

Calcium and magnesium supplements – a low-cost risk management strategy

 Graham Centre research, funded by Australian Wool Innovation, has shown the value of supplementing calcium and magnesium to pregnant ewes, even when they appear healthy.

Clinical calcium deficiency (hypocalcaemia or milk fever) and clinical magnesium deficiency (hypomagnesaemia or grass tetany) can result in ewe death and may increase lambing difficulty and complications from birth.

This new research, led by Charles Sturt University Professor Michael Friend examined whether ewes with sub-clinical deficiencies in calcium and magnesium – those that are not visible – are also more likely to lose lambs.

Testing on commercial farms found that even if the pastures showed no deficiencies in calcium and magnesium, the ewes grazing those pastures often had subclinical deficiencies.

Part of the project involved PhD research by Forough Ataollahi, who carried out a small-scale trial comparing pregnant ewes whose diets were supplemented with calcium and magnesium, to pregnant ewes with no supplementation.

Her research found calcium and magnesium supplementation put pregnant ewes into a better metabolic state, improved the immune response in twin newborn lambs and increased their weights at four weeks of age.

Small increases in lamb weaning weight can make a profound difference to weaner survival. Early weaning can be an effective strategy to increase productivity and also to ensure that ewes have more time to recover body condition.

Key points

  • Many late pregnant ewes appear to be sub-clinically deficient in calcium and magnesium, despite grazing pastures which should provide sufficient amounts of these minerals
  • Calcium and magnesium supplementation form birth to lamb marking resulted in increased lamb marking weights, and supplementation to weaning increased lamb liveweight gain.
  • While supplementation may not improve lamb survival in all flocks, a loose lick supplying calcium, magnesium and sodium can be a cost effective method to increase growth rates of young lambs and reduce mortality risk

For more information and recommendations check out the Australian Wool Innovation Fact Sheet here
Michael Friend:
Forough Ataollahi:

Livestock forum to showcase research

The research into the impact of calcium and magnesium supplements on lamb performance will be presented at the Graham Centre Livestock Forum on Friday 26 of July at the Convention Centre at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga.

The Forum will also showcase research including increasing lamb growth rates on pasture, research into the use of caffeine to increase lamb survival, the effects of grain processing on the performance of weaner lambs in feedlots and breeding for quality lamb meat from Merinos. Download the program here

Registration is $25 per person and includes morning tea and lunch. Register here

If you can’t make it in person follow the action with the Graham Centre on Facebook @GrahamCentreForAgriculturalInnovation and Twitter @GrahamCentre


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FUTURE Farmers Network member Alex Davies is headed from his farm at Coonabarabran to New Zealand next week.

The young sheep, wool and grain producer has been awarded the inaugural Future Farmers Network Rabobank Farm Managers Program opportunity.

Rabobank’s Southern Queensland & Northern New South Wales Client Council awarded a place on their annual Farm Managers Program, held in Christchurch, to the FFN Member who displayed a clear ambition and desire to help the sustainability of their industry.

Alex’s ambition was clear to selectors, through both his work on the family’s 4000 acre farm Box Ridge, and his work across the wider industry and community.

“I love Ag – when your passion is on the land it makes it really easy to get out of bed and go and do whatever needs doing, and there is such a diverse range of jobs – spraying and spreading to shearing and drenching – pretty much anything. I love looking at a good line of sheep and some beautiful Merino wool,” he said.

Alex has been back on Box Ridge for seven years, and works alongside his parents in the day to day running of their 4200 Merino ewe flock and 1500 acres of dual purpose crops.


Alex Davies of Box Ridge at Coonabarabran, NSW, has won a spot in the Rabobank Farm Managers Program in New Zealand.

He says succession planning, farm debt and drought are the biggest issues facing the agricultural industry, and he hopes to gain valuable skills at the Farm Managers Program to use both on-farm and for wider advocacy and extension work.

“I didn’t go to uni and always kicked myself that I don’t have a piece of paper to my name – I have spoken to a lot of people who have done this and it sounds unreal – so it was a no-brainer to apply,” he said.

“(Learning about) succession planning is going to be a big one, just because of the situation my family are in at home, and also managing people and employees, preparation for a managers role, I will get a lot out of that.”

In the future, Alex hopes to manage a harmonious and successful team on-farm – and get plenty of rain of course.

“I look forward to the seasons returning to a normal rainfall if there is such a thing these days, and working alongside a team that at the end of the day you can be proud of what you’ve achieved and what you’ve produced.”

Alex was judged the winner from 27 applications and will attend the Rabobank Farm Managers Program, a one-week residential course held outside Christchurch New Zealand from 23-28 June 2019, with the course ($5900), flights and accommodation paid for.

Rabobank Knowledge and Network Experiences manager Matilda Stump said they were “thrilled and overwhelmed” with the calibre of applications

“Reading through the applications everyone on the panel felt very inspired and excited about the future of our industry and the leaders coming through,” she said.

“Alex Davies’ application stood out for many reasons as someone who has clear ambitions, would benefit enormously from business management training and who would really make the most of the networking opportunities and mentoring the program offers.”

Chair of the Rabobank Southern QLD and Northern NSW Client Council Sally Rigney said the calibre of candidates meant selecting the winner was a big challenge.

“Reading the FMP applications and seeing the depth of talent in the next generation of Australian agricultural producers inspired us with hope for the future.”

“It was a very tight contest among our final four but Alex Davies from Coonabarabran won through due to his clear vision, can-do attitude and obvious thirst for knowledge.”

“For Alex you could see the opportunity to attend the FMP would be life changing. Alex is someone who wants so much more for his family partnership and probably wouldn’t have access to this type of learning and knowledge without the financial support of our Rabobank Client Council scholarship.”

Designed to strengthen the operational and strategic skills of farm managers, the Farm Managers Program covers global trends in agriculture, business planning, financial management, leadership, and succession planning.

Facilitated by experts in these fields, the program is designed to develop management expertise and ensure farmers leave with a highly practical skill set that can be applied from day one.

The Rabobank Client Council Southern Queensland and Northern NSW is excited at the prospect of turning this into an annual initiative in partnership with Future Farmers Network.

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Would you benefit from $1,000 to further your studies or career? FFN and CQUniversity are offering members the chance to take home a major bursary to support their Ag journey and assist in their pursuit of a career in agriculture.

FFN is offering two (2) x $1,000 scholarships to attend any Ag focussed event or course. Funds can be used for registration, travel and accommodation costs. Applications are open until 30th June 2019.

This is a great opportunity for FFN members to further your networks, knowledge and take a hold of your future.

Applications must be submitted to FFN EO, before 11:59pm, 30th June 2019.

For an application form, click here.

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