Article by: Hari Yellina
Producers of horticulture in Victoria are being urged to sign up for a new farm monitor programme. According to Agriculture Victoria, its Horticulture Farm Monitor Pilot will give farmers vital business information to better understand their profitability, speed up recovery, and spur future expansion. With regard to a variety of crops, including apples and pears, cherries, strawberries, and summer fruit, the pilot is gathering data from farm enterprises. Miffy Gilbert, chair of the Victorian Strawberry Growers Association and CEO of AusBerry, claims it is a really useful tool for growers and is enticing more growers to get involved.
According to Ms. Gilbert, “the strawberry business was particularly eager to participate in the Horticulture Farm Monitor Pilot.” “We have plenty of anecdotal evidence about our market and our companies, but we lack the data necessary to support our assertions. “We didn’t really know how many personnel we would need as a business when the pandemic struck. We had anecdotal evidence but no substantiated proof.” Ms. Gilbert is urging more farmers to participate in the pilot program’s data collection phase, which already includes a number of agricultural enterprises. She remarked, “This programme will give us clarity around our business and the real cost of production. “It will assist each business in determining its base expenses and base sale prices, as well as in determining where it may cut costs and where it is competitive with other businesses in the sector.
Some specific industry associations had previously gathered data, according to Ms. Gilbert, but this industry-wide approach would offer greater insights into corporate profitability while safeguarding the farmers who contribute their business data. It’s all done elegantly and completely anonymously, Ms. Gilbert added. “All the data has been de-identified, so nobody knows where it came from, but they are aware that it is correct and typical of their sector and mode of production. According to Sze Flett of Agriculture Victoria, business associations are now again requesting accurate data to help them deal with current problems. The pilot is comparable to Agriculture Victoria’s well-established and very effective Farm Monitor programmes in the dairy, beef, and sheep industries.
Due to the complex and fragmented nature of the sector, with so many distinct industry types having variable capacities to collect data, Dr. Flett stated that collecting data on horticultural enterprises has always been difficult. But we are aware that this is the most effective method for giving firms a precise, accurate picture of the state of their sector.