May 2023
The season and outlook
May 2023
The season and outlook

Written by:  Cameron Weeks | Farm Business Consultant | 0427 006 944


It’s that time of year again where for many the nerves are on edge hoping to get crop and pasture effectively emerged and the season officially started. As I write, the north is mostly pretty dry but there has been recent rain (for some a lot of rain) elsewhere, although either way seeding is underway throughout the state.

Given the mixed seeding circumstances due to variation in rainfall received plus an unknown outlook it is wise to remind everyone, now that they are in the thick of the action, to think about seeding plans A & B and in essence what you might do differently with regards your crop program in the case of a wet and early break versus the opposite. This is focused entirely on risk and reward with the high cost of inputs front of mind.

Monthly rainfall in WA for April 2023.


On the outlook front there has been some good news since most budgets were prepared with the price of fertilizer (especially N) easing, the cost of other key inputs also moving in the right direction and the reserve bank putting a pause (if not a stop) to interest rate increases.

On the downside grain prices have eased somewhat although when compared historically they remain very strong. Sheep markets are in some turmoil with the live export trade again the focus of Government and processors continuing to operate at reduced capacity both impacting prices. This has resulted in downward pressure on prices with some classes of sheep particularly affected.

Of course, it’s how all the above interact (season x price less cost) that matters making the rainfall chart included the most important bit of information. Certainly on a statewide basis the season is off to a good to excellent start in most places and we know that a good start is half the battle so that is very positive news.

Planfarm news
I thought it opportune to update you on a few things happening at Planfarm. Firstly, new consultant Martin Anderson (Albany) has successfully completed his first annual review season and is now actively and successfully recruiting clients predominantly in the Great Southern. There has been a high degree of interest in Martin’s services which is no surprise given his 20 odd years of experience in banking operating through the region. If you are interested in what he could offer your business or know someone who might be, contact the Albany Office.

Secondly, Dan Tooohey our first consultant based outside of WA in Ballarat Victoria, has similarly completed his first annual review season for Planfarm Advisory, and is building on his great start last year by continuing to recruit clients mostly in Victoria. Again, If you are interested in what he could offer your business or know someone who might be, contact Planfarm Advisory directly (

Thirdly, led by Danielle Gale and very ably supported by Jefferson Allan, Planfarm is nearing the end of 9 months work on the DPIRD Carbon Farming Voucher Program. This has been a very substantial undertaking by the team which has seen us work with 21 farm businesses to develop either soil land management strategies (LMS) or reforestation. As this is a new working area for us and the clients, certainly a great deal has been learned and from our perspective, we are now very well placed to firstly advise clients on carbon farming but also deliver carbon farming LMS’s through our commercial entity Terrawise.

Fourthly, and again on the carbon front, as part of our 22/23 annual review process we have collated extra data that will allow us to calculate the carbon account for client’s businesses. The first output will be received by consulting clients later in the year when we produce our first carbon benchmarking output. This will see us report on scope 1, 2 & an estimate of scope 3 emissions and will be both at a whole of business level plus at an intensity level (i.e. per unit of production). The aim is for us and clients to start considering emissions as part of business management with this being the first step in understanding.

Finally, and sadly, fellow shareholder and one of the highest regarded Agronomists in the state Richard Quinlan has hung up the agronomy boots after 33 years in the profession including 20 with Planfarm. Richard remains working in agriculture but in the emerging carbon space (a bit of a theme going here isn’t there?) as Head of Field Trials and Market Development for Rumin8 (‘using technology to reproduce nature’s solutions to make affordable feed supplements that reduce methane emissions from livestock’). We wish Richard well in his endeavors and thank him from the bottom of our hearts for his input into Planfarm and his client’s businesses over a long period of time.

It was brought to my attention recently by a Planfarm client that some of my Landline articles do not necessarily hit the mark for everyone and that on occasion some might even take offence to what I write. For this I apologise – offence is certainly not my intent.

I do though point out that;
a) I have at times challenged conventional logic and I do this intentionally and unashamedly,
b) I do frequently use a title that will capture the readers attention and
c) Landline has a statewide and now growing national audience and as such generalizations will not apply to all.

My commitment to you is to keep challenging you as and when I feel it is appropriate but to be very mindful of doing this in a way that is sensitive to a wide range of situations and circumstances. Feedback both positive and negative to all that is written in Landline is always welcome and wanted.



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