Beef industry “cluster groups” have an advantage over individual producers by being able to compare the cost of production and work co-operatively towards efficiency, said beef consultant, Bill Hoffman, at last Friday’s Yulgilbar Beef Expo and Forum.
The beef advocate, whose clients cover country from the North Coast to the North West Slopes, is currently working with four co-operative groups representing a spread of that geography which have grown from a group analysing their own cost of production to a formal working arrangement through the federally funded Farm Co-operatives and Collaboration pilot program, based at Southern Cross University, Lismore.
The core focus of Mr Hoffman’s project is to look at other profit drivers in the quest to make beef pay. “We look at the cost of production using key performance indicators,” he said, emphasising fact based on science.
“With this knowledge we expand our view and consider 10-12 key performance indicators which will give us a better ability to influence where we go with our business.
“It’s a significant step-up from doing nothing or trying to re-invent the wheel.
“I’m not one for big data but I am all in favour of some data so producers can make better decisions.
“We find that by adding a new level to the business it tends to become more proactive and more productive.”
Key points Mr Hoffman made include the need to hit specifications dictated by the customer and to buy in at a reasonable rate so that you can focus on putting on weight.
“It’s all about weight gain and cost of production,” he said. “Focus on what drives profit. Seek out performance data and feedback and discuss that with your customer.”
He pointed to his own feeder steer system where specific buy-in weights, 200kg in his case, were chosen to spread fixed costs. He also allowed for flexibility in order to “take the rate not the weight” when processor grids moved away from the previous ‘sweet spot’.
When it came time to sell, Mr Hoffman urged producers to step up to the plate and present themselves as a marketer, not a seller.