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Northland sharemilkers Briar and Tony Lunjevich are focused on building equity and heading towards their ultimate goal of farm ownership.

Farming at Kaitaia on Tony’s family property, they milk 320 cows and milk once a day on the 130 hectare (effective) farm.

“We hope to become farm owners and building equity is our main goal, to enable that,” Briar says.

The couple have been the Far North partner farm for the Northland Dairy Development Trust and DairyNZ Partner Farms Project since May 2014, and are clocking up some impressive results.

In this time, the farm has increased milk solids production per ha by 24% and achieved a big reduction in farm expenditure. Pasture eaten/ha has increased by 1.6 t DM/ha, mainly from improved pasture management.

Financial monitoring has also been a focus and they started using Cashmanager RURAL in the 2011-12 season, when they began sharemilking. They are heading into their seventh season.

“We use Cashmanager RURAL for budgeting, keeping track of spending and future planning. We chuck ideas around on it – different scenarios – what would happen if we did this? We can get an idea of how it would affect us financially.”

Briar says they revise their budget monthly, if not more often. “I load my accounts every month and have a quick look at how everything is going. At certain crunch times, like culling cows or when there’s a big expense coming up, we look to see how that will impact our cashflow.”

Knowing where they are at financially is important to them and Briar says it helps create better relationships with their bank and rural professionals.

“When times are tight at least we have the knowledge to help us make the best choices and decisions we can.”

The couple use the dairy forecaster tool and when Fonterra updates its payout it’s as simple as clicking a button to see the effect on cashflow.

They use the variance and cashflow reports regularly and, being part of the partner farm project, the facilitator can easily pull out the necessary reports.

“We really like the fact it (Cashmanager) is online and we can give access to rural professionals, so they have a real idea of what’s happening. If we make changes we can just flick them an email and they know what we’re thinking – and we have the figures to back it up,” Briar says.


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