Articles & Presentations

Evolution of dairy production systems in leading exporting countries plus South Africa…and what can be forecast for the next 5 years
This paper was presented in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa at a dairy seminar in October 2019. It includes a comparison of Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Uruguay & United States as major exporters as well as South Africa. A suite of 20 key business performance ratios are reviewed comparing performance over the last 17 years and a forecast for the next 5 years.
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Which are the critical dairy business performance characteristics that will provide profitability and sustainability for the next 5-10 years
This paper was presented in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa at a dairy seminar in October 2019. This included a full statistical analysis of 2 large databases of dairy farm performance; one from Australia and the other from South Africa. The presentation included information on 69 important relationships that directly relate to dairy farm performance and profitability.
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Building a resilient, flourishing, internationally competitive dairy industry in Ireland
This superlative report was written by Con Hurley & Mike Murphy in 2015 for the Irish “2025 Agri Food Strategy Committee”. For anyone interested in understanding the key principles for building an internationally competitive pasture-based dairy industry, then this is an essential report to read. To download the full report please click here.
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The Interview re: Evolution of dairy production systems in the world’s leading exporters
David Beca was interviewed in Uruguay in relation to the paper that he presented at the 2019 INALE Foro. David answers 4 questions including 1) How would you summarise the milk production and economic trends over the last 17 years for Argentina, Uruguay, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa & United States? 2) What do dairy farmers need to do to get a good return on capital (or to improve their profitability)? 3) What are the prospects or forecast for the 6 countries analysed? 4) What are the opportunities that I see for improvements in the production systems in Uruguay? (this question is equally relevant to Argentina & Australia). To view the interview (preguntas y subtexto en español) please click here.

Evolution of dairy production systems in the world’s leading exporters
This paper was presented in Uruguay at the INALE Foro in June 2019. It includes a comparison of Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Uruguay & United States as major exporters as well as South Africa. A suite of around 17 key business performance ratios are reviewed comparing performance over the last 17 years and a forecast for the next 5 years.
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Rethinking your Dairy Business Profitability - What drives profit and which ratios to monitor?
This paper was presented in Ecuador and outlines how dairy farmers (and advisors) should analyse dairy businesses to determine how they are performing, as well as confirming what factors drive profitability. This includes a full statistical analysis of a relatively unique dataset of dairy farms in Australia.
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International Competitiveness of Southern Hemisphere Dairy Businesses
This paper is a development of an earlier one that was named “Make Australia Dairy Farming Great Again”, though with more information on the development of 5 key countries; New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, Uruguay & South Africa. Versions of this paper have been presented in Argentina, Uruguay, South Africa and then this latest version in Ecuador.
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Things the most successful farmers (and their advisors) get right
This paper was initially written by Associate Professor Bill Malcolm and Alex Sinnett from University of Melbourne and presented in New Zealand. Subsequently David Beca provided some further input to the paper and presented it in Australia, South Africa, Argentina, Uruguay and then this latest version in Ecuador.
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Make Australia Dairy Farming GREAT Again
Or an alternative title is “The challenges and opportunities facing Australia dairy farming to delivering reliable profitability and growth.” This presentation looks at the factors behind the Australian dairy industry’s lack of growth and loss of international competitiveness.
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What Farm System Maximises Profitability on Pasture-Based Dairy Farms?
What are the primary drivers of profitability; higher milk production per cow, more cows per hectare, more intensive production systems or higher pasture harvest? This presentation endeavours to answer this question.
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Tri-Nations Revisited
Profitability variations between the average and the best in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. This paper sets out to determine the differences between the levels of profitability in pasture-based dairying in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
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Economies of Scale in Dairying
Are there economies of scale in pasture-based dairying? What is the most economic size of a pasture-based dairy farm? These questions were answered in this paper delivered to the University of Sydney Dairy Research Foundation Symposium in November 2006.
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Key Profit Drivers in Pasture Based Dairying
There are 5 key profit drivers in pasture based dairying. These include pasture harvest, milk production, supplement feed cost, labour efficiency, and base cost structure. These are outlined in detail as part of this paper delivered to the South African Large Herds Conference in February 2005
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Sorting the Best from the Rest
The most profitable pasture based farming systems generally exhibit five key qualities. These are outlined in detail as part of this paper delivered to the South African Large Herds Conference in February 2005.
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Planning is the Key for Young Farmers (Australia)
Planning and seeking a wide range of information from different sources are the foundation on which young south-western Victorian dairyfarmers Alistair Adams and Andrea Beckel hope to build their dairy enterprise. By Carlene Dowie, Dairyfarmer, July/August 2004
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Planning the Way Forward (New Zealand)
Neville & Louise Williams have farmed with various farm systems over the years and when they expanded their farm business recently they knew they had to look in depth at their performance. FarmLink, July 2004
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Drought Sharpens Financial Focus (Australia)
Like many Australian dairy farmers, Russell and Gale Foote had to make some tough decisions during the drought. Even though the drought has broken, it will take some time to see the full impact of those decisions.
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Taking Care of Business (New Zealand)
Over several years Manawatu dairy farmers, Bryan and Jo Guy, have re-structured the way they run their dairy farm, focusing more on business management while handing over the day-to-day operations to their daughter Anna and her husband Ewen Macdonald, with assistance from another three full time employees.
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Making Sense of Farm Performance Analysis
By David Beca, RED SKY Agricultural. What is profit and how do you assess risk? What is solvency and how do you assess efficiency? How should these be measured and which ratios are important to your business?
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Business Planning Pays Off (Australia)
Grasmere dairy farmers, Neil and Penny McLeod were delighted when their son, John and his partner Bettina Jorgensen, decided to come home to the family farm. And they happily bought more land and expanded the herd to enable it to support two families. But what really made it work was ‘getting down to business.’
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Breakeven Milk Price Surprise (New Zealand)
With milk prices down, and likely to stay that way for the immediate future, many dairy farmers are closely examining their business structure, and considering options for cutting costs. It’s worth doing the sums, as the results can be surprising as Te Mawhai dairy farmers, David and Sue Forsythe, discovered.
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Profiting at Low Milk Prices (Australia)
By David Beca, RED SKY Agricultural. With lower milk prices, a rising Australian dollar, and a stagnant world economy, the usual challenges are being directed at farmers, consultants and accountants alike. How can we improve our profit in these conditions?
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Profiting from Low Milk Prices (New Zealand)
By David Beca, RED SKY Agricultural. With lower milk prices, a rising New Zealand dollar, and a stagnant world economy, the usual challenges are being directed at farmers, consultants and accountants alike. How can we improve our profit in these conditions?
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