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Regional Round-up  is a monthly newsletter providing an overview into the environmental and business conditions affecting farmers and rural businesses in the Goulburn Valley and North East Victoria.

Dairy

Previous reports have noted the adverse effects milk price drop is having upon dairy farm cash flow. The inability to service unsecured debt in a timely manner appears to have reached the critical mass as available cash is now exhausted and overdraft limits maxed out. There are emerging reports and evidence where poorly considered decisions have further impacted upon the business’s cashflow including culling cows to service debt at the detriment of future income, reducing feed supplements to reduce cost and consequently production and ignoring outstanding utility invoices and putting at jeopardy continuous supply of electricity and water.

Vic Dairy Roundtables

Recent dairy roundtable meetings facilitated by Senator Bridgette McKenzie were held in Tangambalanga and Congupna in mid-December and highlighted the systemic issues with the administration of the Farm Household Allowance. A number of dairy farmers who attended the roundtable were able to clearly articulate and demonstrate they had completed and provided the required information to Centrelink and were still awaiting approval.

  • Some of the gaps in the in the FHA approval process raised included:
  • Applications remain unapproved despite being submitted 16 – 18 weeks earlier.
  • Enquiring applicants cannot get accurate or reliable feedback to cause of processing delays and/or what stage the application is at.
  • Applicants are being asked to resubmit documentation previously provided.
  • The FHA application is a highbred between online and paper forms
  • There is lack of coordination in seeing through already delayed or complicated applications.

Cropping/Sheep

Harvest activities are underway and high canola yields are being reported across the area with up to 50% oil content (recording breaking for some). At the same time many crops have suffered with yield and quality as a consequence of wet conditions (plants dying, lying down, too wet).

Overall it appears the wet winter and spring has done more good than harm. Cereal crop prices are poor however expected higher yields should offset some pain, the financial outcome of the harvest will be better known in time.

Lamb prices continue to do well and confidence is now starting to return to the wool market with prices at an 18 month high.

Horticulture

Orchard activity increased in November as orchardist prepare for or commence harvesting. Some hail damage was experienced by orchardist in the Cobram area. Disease management will be a high priority on many orchardist as the wet conditions persist.

Beef

The excellent results in the last few years are now starting to show on balance sheets with some dramatic reductions in levels of debt amongst North East producers, whilst there will still be a shortfall in cattle numbers in the coming year market analyst expect export prices to drop as the US and Brazil compete for a bigger share of the lucrative Chinese market.

Small Business

Small Business Financial Counsellors continue to support clients. Like any new program it takes time and effort to develop an affective referral network and SBFCs continue to network and promote the service. To date, there are positive signs and feedback from clients who engaged with the service.

Irrigation

Water prices traded for $95 (Temp water) in the Greater Goulburn.

High Reliability water shares were at $2,500 for December and low reliability shares traded for $240.

 

Call 1300 834 775 to find out what assistance we may be able to provide you, or make an appointment with one of our experienced Rural Financial Counsellors.

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Contact Us

Rural Financial Counselling Service Victoria - North East.

Unit 1, Enterprise House

3 Stanley Street

Wodonga VIC 3689

PHONE: 1300 834 775

EMAIL: info@rfcsvicne.org.au

FAX: (02) 6100 6123