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Use of software tools, like Cashmanager RURAL, has helped Peter Apthorp come a long way in his farming career, faster.

Fifth generation farmers Peter and his wife Ally were the 2016 Tararua Sheep & Beef Farm Business of the Year.

Innovation and calculation are the hallmarks of their semi-finishing sheep and beef farming business just outside Pahiatua, which is also a textbook example of farm succession done well.

Peter and Ally Apthorp, with son Jack. Photo: Graeme Brown/Country-Wide


Peter has been using Cashmanager RURAL since he started his farming career and says it is a good tool to keep his finger on the pulse of his business.

“I use it to plan and budget ahead, a year in advance, and revise with actuals over budget monthly – if not more. I revise a lot.”

He finds the stock reconciliation function useful for keeping a record of livestock sales and purchases, and feeds weights into it.

“It’s also a good tool for administration things, running a GST report is quick and easy. We also use the wagebook and invoicing through it.”

Peter does a lot of analysis by running the different reports available in Cashmanager RURAL, like the EFS summary, and uses those numbers to benchmark his business against other farms.

He has used the enterprising function when looking at buying or leasing land. “Usually if I’m looking at buying a farm I will build a model in Farmax and then use those figures to put back into Cashmanager and enterprise the new farm, as opposed to the existing farms, to compare within the business.

“You can look at the total business as a whole or filter out the new business. It’s easy to see how each one is performing.”

He sees budgeting as very important to running a profitable business, especially if you are running high debt levels.

Despite winning the farmer of the year award, Peter and Ally stress that they are not done yet. They have worked hard on developing the family farm further and a platform has been created to capitalise on increased productivity – they are just starting to reap the benefits.

“I don’t see myself as being a high performer, yet, but I do see myself as coming a long way in a short space of time and software tools, like Cashmanager RURAL and Farmax, has helped me learn things a lot quicker and to get to where I am a lot faster,” Peter says.

He also believes that Cashmanager RURAL is good value for money. “I feel, in comparison to some other software packages, that it’s probably quite a good spend.”

  • You can read in-depth about Peter and Ally’s operation in the July issue of Country-Wide magazine.

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