Red Sky BULLETIN - August 2005


We have recently launched a new version v4.1.58.  Although there is no immediate need to install this version, if you observe any unusual letters/names within any fields of a form “<xxx>” then please download the latest version from here.  As discussed previously, recent versions have included code so that “Hectare” replaces “Area”, and for sheep and beef data, Australians see “DSE” and New Zealanders see “SU” in all screens and reports.  In addition New Zealand sheep and beef farmers will see that animal weights should be entered as liveweights for all purchases and carcass weights for all sales, while Australians differ in that beef sale weights should be entered as liveweights.  Currencies have also been included for non-dollar countries e.g. Rand for South Africa.


We have recalculated all the 2003/04 dairy benchmarks for both New Zealand and Australia with the 2004/05 milk price.  This means that if you delete your existing benchmarks out of your local database and then retrieve them again from our server that you will have the additional option of comparing clients data with 2004/05 milk prices and “average adjusted” farm performance.  Please note that there are now 3 separate pages on our website listing our benchmarks, one for New Zealand here, one for Australia here, and one for South Africa at here.


We have recalculated the 2003/04 sheep and beef benchmarks for both New Zealand and Australia as there have been some improvements to a few calculations, especially in regards to pasture and feed costs.  To view these you need to delete your existing benchmarks out of your local database and then retrieve them again from our server.  Please note that there are now separate pages on our website for each countries benchmarks, with the New Zealand benchmarks here and the Australian benchmarks here.


We are continuing to simplify data collection requirements.  With dairy data this has resulted in a major redesign of the worksheet.  The latest data sheet for financial data covers just half a page and there are only 4 key pieces of information required in addition to a set of accounts.  These 4 key pieces of information include land areas, milk production, imputed/unpaid staff hours, and nitrogen use per hectare.  A copy of this data sheet is available from our website here or contact us for a country specific copy at


As a result of our association with Boyce Chartered Accountants, the pre-eminent Australian sheep, beef and cropping accountancy firm based in New South Wales, we have developed new sheep and beef reports that can be viewed under the Key Data-Reports tab.  Boyce CA have been benchmarking farms for over 25 years and will be involved with future developments of Red Sky in a similar vein to the role Baker & Associates have with Red Sky in New Zealand.

There has also been a continuing improvement and simplification of dairy, sheep, beef, cropping and other enterprise reports over the last few months.


For South African farmers, the average energy density of pasture is now set at 10.5 MJ ME/kgDM.  For New Zealand and Australian farmers this continues to be set at 11.0 MJ ME/kgDM.  In addition we have developed these calculations so that they now take account of capitalised and adjusted expenses, which previously produced the odd anomaly.

We recently noticed that the calculations for Direct Pasture Cost and Variable Pasture Cost had been reversed.  We believe this has been in evidence for 3-4 months and was corrected several weeks ago.  This was most noticeable for Australian dairy farmers (although only for those that had all financial and physical data entered).  To ensure this is corrected in any of your existing data, or to update any new fields that we may have added at any time, you should simply click on “Run All Calcs” at bottom right of the General tab of each Year.


The calculation for dairy labour efficiency can now be adjusted for time spent on youngstock development, as well as time spent on farm development, spreading fertiliser, and conserving feed.  This will provide those farms with runoff/outpaddock blocks, and farms that are either developing or doing non-core work through existing staff, to produce a labour efficiency value that can be directly compared to their peers.  These entry fields are at the bottom of the Dairy Adjustments/Staff screen.


We have developed new calculations for determining the pasture harvest from irrigated versus non-irrigated areas on a farm.  In addition you can determine the difference between perennial versus annual pasture on irrigated farms.  These entry fields and pasture harvest calculations are in the Land Details/Irrigation screen.

We are going to develop an Irrigation report that will include these multiple pasture harvest calculations along with a group of other key performance ratios specific to irrigated farms.  If you have any suggestions for relevant ratios then please could you forward these to us at


Development is continuing on our single software solution that will allow accountants to benchmark all their clients – both agricultural and non-agricultural.  We believe that this may be available in October and we will keep you informed as launch date draws closer.  This solution will result in a substantial reduction in the time it takes to import and process data, and increase the number of reports that are available.

If you would like further information on any matter relating to Red Sky then please contact us at

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