In the Office

All topics about the business of farming


  • Anna : Not wishing to confuse you further, but it could be worth talking to your accountant about how to code it? I'm pretty sure you can claim the gst when you purchase the item (i.e. the items will show up as being purchased and you can just code them to their relevent code) and then code the 'Portion not yet due for payment' part to deferred expenses, as it acts like a credit. I hope that makes sense - but it really is probably best to talk to your accountant who can explain it better!

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  • Anna : Hi Mickael, I hope your research project is going well so far! I think you may find that contract milkers prices vary in accordance with how large their farm-related expenses are, and their level of experience/skill and thus it may be important to take that into account when considering the differences over years/between regions? As far as I'm aware, contract milker's allocated price is worked out like this: Total budgeted expenses for the season + appropriate management fee/profit = total income required. Divide this by the budgeted milk solids for the season. So for example, a contract milker receiving $1.20/kgMS may have higher overhead costs and therefore may make the same profit as one who receives $1.10/kgMS but who has less overhead costs (in this example they both produce the same amount of milk solids). Here's a good article which goes into a little more detail about the upsides and pitfalls of contract milking: Farmers Weekly | I hope that makes sense? All the best!

    2

  • Michugonnet : Hi everybody, I am a French PhD candidate in Geography, and I would appreciate some help... I conduct a research project looking at the transformations of dairy farming in New Zealand over the last 30 years. The rise of contract milking has been an important part of this, and I would like to know how the price paid to contract milkers fluctuated over the years. So if you were contract milking during past seasons, could you please take 5 minutes to answer this short survey http://questionnaire.simplesurvey.com/Engine/Default.aspx?surveyID=9a64ff77-f491-496e-b15c-f536f2dd6f71&lang=EN ? That would be very helpful for me. Please note that this is completely anonymous. If you want to get a copy of my work once finished (end of 2017), please e-mail me at hugonnet.mickael@gmail.com. I thank you very much for your help. NB : Sorry for my englsih, it is not my native language. Mickaël.

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  • Annie : For us... Any invoices we need to send out for the previous month I email out before the 10th, for payment by the 20th. All the invoices that arrive get tucked away through the month. Generally around the 17th (once most of them are in) I sort through them all and leave them out for James to look through (this can take a few days and a bit of nagging... ). If there are any discrepancies or mistakes then I will get them sorted then pay them all on the 19th or 20th. I use the Wagebook in Cashmanager so filing the PAYE is easy as I can import the IR348 directly in to myIR and then set up the payment online. Generally in the first few days of a new month I will import the previous months transactions (into Cashmanager) and code them all. (Although now that we have Bank Feeds set up I sometimes code transactions mid month as they come in, which is quite good as it seems like less of a big job!). I then file all the invoices away, but in A-Z dividers, oldest- newest... that makes more sense for me for some reason... When GST is due I file that through myIR, nice and simple. Generally after a GST period I update my revised view, re-look at the budget and make any necessary changes. I then email a newsletter and updated reports to our equity partners. My go-to reports are Performance Summary, Stock Reconcilliation, Cashflow and expanded Cashflow Detail.

    3

  • Anna : Hmmm ok so is 16 hours the way to go? I can't help but wonder about the effects on the people (it's kind of like long-term shift work isn't it, it can play havoc with your body clock) but I know some people who did it all last season and it worked well - they felt they had a bit more free time. Interestingly, DairyNZ research says that "Milking cows three times every two days (~16 hour milking interval) will not reduce milk production unless dry matter intake is also reduced" I presume that's in comparison to a 2AD milk production level? I would have expected a small drop in production (as theoretically, the more frequently a cow is milked, the more milk they produce). Does anyone else do 16hr milkings? Either all season or at the end of the season?

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  • Anna : Yes absolutely agree with the phone, we very rarely use our landline for social reasons! And we also constantly have work-related things happening, whether it's staff coming in for a planning meeting or the consultant or the various reps.... I think I will have to find the time to write something to IRD.... wish me luck!

    3

  • Anna : Whilst I'm not a sheep and beef farmer, as an employer I fully agree with @duynie, attitude is key! I know of several situations where an employer has actually chosen a person with less experience over someone with more, as the less experienced person had a better 'can-do', positive attitude and showed real desire to learn and get ahead.

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  • Annie : We are involved in two equity partnerships. The most recent partnership is still in it's first financial year. We were fortunate that we had friends who were keen to be involved (and also manage the property) and the bank put us in touch with the other two parties. I do the budgeting and admin for the partnership and my husband has an overseeing role within the business. For us, a good relationship with the Bank and networking was invaluable in finding our partners and also having a good reputation meant that people were keen to be involved. We looked at quite a few farms, and put offers in on two others before securing the property. It was a real journey to get it going. Lots of meetings, reports, budgets, emails etc. We made sure we used a good lawyer and have clear processes in place, for example if anyone wants money out. Our initial budgets were all very conservative, with the thinking that it is better to under-promise and over-deliver, rather than the other way around. I think it's important to have goals set (particularly around repaying debt vs taking $ out) and understand what each partner wants out of the deal... hunting access, learn about farming, keep a horse, regular drive around... whatever it may be. One of our main focuses (and I think one of the keys to a successful partnership) is communication. The partners put in a lot of money so I think it's really important to keep everyone in the loop, give them some value. I do an update roughly every 2 months with updated budget and reports and also a newsletter, which is laid out like the front page of a newspaper. The newsletter is basically an update with what has been going on, with an explanation of why certain decisions have been made, a word from the farm manager, a Health and Safety update and any other info of interest. I also normally put in a photo or something to liven it up. The non-farming partners seem to enjoy getting this. The reports are great but the newsletter is a bit easier to digest, especially for people without a farming background. We also keep in touch with the other partners through phone and email in between. It's made clear that they can ring any time if they have any queries. I think it's also really important to build a relationship with the other partners and have a bit of fun! Get together for a meal, a catch up at duck shooting etc.

    2

  • Frankie : Thanks @racheljoblin . It has come to light that as a couple we need to get out in the community and make the most of each opportunity that comes our way. Education plays a huge role in this also, I have completed a Massey Diploma in Agriculture but still wanting to develop my knowledge further- there are a great number of seminars and courses running in our area and we need to utilize these.

    5

  • Bryan Rendle : I use www.yr.no you can type in your location and it will give your forecast specific to there with rainfall mm, temps etc. It updates regularly and I find it pretty accurate

    5
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  • Annie : A good farm consultant is great as they can have a look at your business from an independant perspective. As well as having their ideas they can be a good sounding board for your own ideas, and perhaps give you the confidence to put your plan into action. I think being accountable to someone, knowing that you are going to be checking in with them, can be a good driver to achieve goals too. There is ofcourse a cost, but in our experience it is money well spent.

    2

  • Anna : I think there's a lot to consider when you look at getting an accountant/changing accountants! Do they understand rural business? What services can they offer? Have they got a good reputation? Where are they located? Are they easily contactable? Do you feel comfortable working alongside them and asking for them to clarify something if you don't understand it? How much do they charge and how will that cost be worked out? Ultimately they are an important part in your business and you should be able to build a positive and strong relationship with them so it pays to do your homework first. What do others think? Are there other things to consider?

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  • becgreaves : @CharlotteHeald I am going to try this one!

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  • Annie : We were previously with Farmside and found it to be really expensive for the small amount of slow internet we got. It was really hard to manage with teenagers, running a business from home, Skype etc, and once James learnt how to turn the computer on and discovered fishing videos on Youtube it was impossible... So we took the plunge and installed our own tower on the farm to hook up with Wizbiz (Wairarapa). We saved some money by laying the cable ourselves. We've also recouped some costs when the neighbours hooked in too. It's brilliant! $129 a month for 200GB and the staff are so helpful and good to deal with. We've now also put our phone through the internet with a company called 2talk. We got advice and help from the Wizbiz team and it was really easy to get set up and running. We now pay $30 per month for 4000 local minutes, 3000 national and World minutes and 50 mobile phone minutes (we also add on a mobile bundle) and we also get two lines. Really handy! Go to http://www.2talk.co.nz/voice.html?p=home to check out the deals. We've now also got Sotify for music and Netflix, no way we could have done that before! Check out our "What I know now that I wish I know then... ' topic for a great trick in your Netflix settings to avoid chewing through your internet data... Click on the link below to have a look https://community.crssoftware.co.nz/topic/137/what-i-know-now-that-i-wish-i-knew-then/11

    4

  • duynie : @Anna I share the views above. Keeping everyone in the loop is essential. Having a plan and being proactive also important. Knowing your numbers thoroughly and making decisions early can avoid stress and pressure further down the line.

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  • Ezypay : @Anna Hi Anna, in our experience we see only the larger farms taking this seriously. The large Corporate farms that have HR people on board are fully aware of the issue, most smaller farmers are still just paying a salary and we can not see any viability on what is actually happening on the farm, in fact, we even asked one to use our Online Portal for a month so we could see what actual hours were been worked and they refused. The corporates prefer a salary based solution as it helps a bit with budgeting but they are also topping up the payments in the busy months. From an employee point of view I feel they prefer a salary for the same reason. There are some great tools available now to help farmers with capturing Timesheets. A Demonstration Farm in Southland developed a Timesheets App for Dairy Farmers that allows staff to track the hours to specific tasks each day. This will also let the employer know if there is an issue around Hours Worked and their Gross Payment. I belive it is a free app at the moment. Details at - www.farmtime.co.nz

    9

  • sharpesolutions : Hi, also be aware, there is a little known regulation that says under 15yr olds can not be employed to handle machinery between 10pm and 6am, technically machinery includes all attachments etc. so it is technically illegal to have under 15 yr olds helping with jobs like sharing etc late or very early, or helping with the wool press (except loading it). For what its worth, knowing the law as I do, if I had a sensible teen, I would choose to break the law, but do so knowingly, with the consequecnes if I was caught.

    3

  • Jo : Thanks for this @Renee-Auckram :) I looked after the admin for a lamb trading business where all lambs were sold just before or on 30 June. To ensure the correct number of stock on hand was recorded at balance date (handy for the accountant, and when budgeting), it was really important to make sure the correct sale date was attached to the income transactions. We used Cashmanager, and even though we're well into the 2017 year, here's another tip to make sure those stock transactions are allocated to the correct financial year: in the Transaction screen and while importing bank transactions

    3

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