Central North Island sharemilkers, contractors and dairy farmers have learnt how to budget for the coming year.
About 10 people went to a financial module in Feilding presented by Jodie Goudswaard to find out about programmes and farm inputs that could work for them.
She said most of the women had done some budgeting before, so the workshop was tailored to their needs.
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“We spent quite a bit of time about what makes up a farm budget, what were farm-worker expenses, and how to calculate the milk income, which is always difficult. And looking at things like monthly budgets.”
She said although they were guessing what the season ahead held, it was an educated guess.
“And the more educated the better. The most accurate you can be is good. You can make better decisions. And have a good picture of where things are going.
“But you never know exactly what will happen and Fonterra likes to change its milk price.”
As the milk price rose or fell, farm budgets reflected that, and that was what bank managers needed to support people on dairy farms…
Goudswaard said it was vital dairy people did budgets and felt confident.
She said women needed to talk the language of budgets and get to know the numbers.
“It is about talking to different people, maybe your fertiliser rep, to know what needs to be put on the farm and the cost. It might be talking to your stock rep about the price of your culls. It is a bit of crystal ball gazing. But if you don’t do budgeting, you don’t have a clue of what is going on on-farm.”
She said women at the workshop included one, Angela, who was physically on the farm and doing the budgets, “and we had Lucy who had small children, and was doing the budget by default. She was at home more, and her husband suggested she could do all the financials”.
Goudswaard said there was also one woman who had had trouble using a computer programme, and they were able to help her with the in-putting of data; “just one little thing which she wasn’t doing” which had been a bug-bear.
“DairyNZ has a spread-sheet and it is really user-friendly. After people have been on that for a while, they might move to other more advanced programmes.”
They worked through the figures and how to put them in.
“Because that is often the hardest thing to do, just typing those numbers in and knowing where to put things. And some woman are concerned they’ll break the system.”
She said she and her husband had been sharemilking in Waikato, but were going to a new farm.
“So we asked the sharemilker that was there, and he gave us his financials so we were able to look at data which helped us do the budget.”