Getting people ‘right’ the real key to farm profit

Grain Central January 30, 2019

WHEN it comes to success on-farm, agribusiness consultant Ken Solly has some simple advice: ‘get the people right and production and profit will follow’.

Ken Solly

“Profit is just as dependent on good communication, problem solving and negotiation as it is on using the right chemicals and fertiliser,” Mr Solly said.

“A lack of profit is, most of the time, not due to technical or production issues. More often, it is a people problem.

“We must always be fertilising the ‘top paddock’ – in other words, the one on top of your shoulders. A good starting point is to invest two to three percent of your gross income annually on professional development, and to make sure some of this is in the interpersonal skills area.”

Mr Solly said successful growers recognised that the number one profit driver in farm business ultimately was not yield or price.

“People are the number one profit drivers and to become a better operator it may be useful to critically analyse some of the best growers in your district,” he said.

“Good operators understand and have a strong focus on the key performance indicators and what drives them. They have a measured approach to management, have great discipline and never make excuses.

“They manage resources well, have a good support team, are effective planners and are capable at monitoring and analysing skills and are able to process information well.

“Most importantly successful growers have an ability to milk all the learnings from every mistake, and their time management is spot on.”

Mr Solly said other elements that were key to creating a prosperous farming future were having the right management structure, identifying your key performance indicators and the best strategy to drive them and developing a personal priority list.

“Your priorities in life and their order of importance shouldn’t really change from: your physical and mental health, your family, your business, your personal priorities, your friends and then your community,” he said.

“Many farmers put their business first, above everything including their own health and their family, then wonder why things suffer.

“Without your health and without your family around you for support you can, and most likely will suffer, and it will be a challenge for your business to be successful.”

Source: GRDC

Ken Solly is one of several industry experts presenting at the 2019 Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Farm Business Updates being held in Dubbo, Moree and Toowoomba in early February.

For more information, contact [email protected] or 0438 416 176. Or to register go to



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