Farmanco Facts - June 2021



An introduction to the June edition of Farmanco Facts, with an outline of key points of articles for this month.

  • Keith Symondson and David Ward investigate the worldwide shortage of semiconductors, the impact on vehicle delivery restraints, and how this affects the current state of your farm fleet.

  • Rob Sands writes about the reality of autonomous farm machinery.

  • Mark Lawrence discusses how new herbicides may affect variable cost ratios.

  • Mae Connelly provides an ISCC update for 2021.

  • And guest contributor, Elise Bowen of Sheep Data Management, provides an article on understanding the basics of ASBVS.

Key Points include:


Covid-19, semi-conductors & managing the farm fleet

(Keith Symondson & David Ward)

  • COVID-19 has had a major impact on the global supply chains for semiconductors

  • Car manufacturers have not been ready for the bounce back in demand and are now at the back of the queue for chips

  • This has led to vehicle delivery constraints, which will probably get worse until they get better and continue until at least late 2022

  • You should assess the current state of your fleet and, if necessary, bring forward important orders by three to 12 months

  • Now may be a good time to upgrade


Autonomous Machinery

(Rob Sands, Management Consultant)

  • The cost and availability of skilled operators is the main driver for automated machines

  • Autonomous technology in agricultural machinery is being used commercially

  • Autonomous kits are available that can be fitted to existing machines

  • The economics will work well on tractors

  • Big machinery companies are starting to get serious about producing autonomous agricultural machines

  • The cost of the technology will continue to fall.

How new herbicides may affect variable cost ratios

(Mark Lawrence, Agronomist)

  • Several exciting new herbicides are available this season

  • Variable pesticide costs have steadily increased over the last 20 years

  • It is important to have a good understanding of cost-income ratios with increases in pesticide spending

  • Multiple pre-plant knocks on weeds may have taken pressure off some of the pre-emergent chemicals

  • It is always good to question the product you are advised on (new and old)


ISCC Update for 2021

(Mae Connelly, Grain Marketing Consultant)

  • There have been some changes to the ISCC program over the last year

  • CBH is running their own ISCC system for WA

  • All other buyers have combined under Sustainable Grains Australia, administered by NGR, covering both WA and east coast growers

  • The CBH ISCC form now covers all commodities, not just canola


Understanding the basics of ASBVS

(Elise Bowen, Sheep Data Management)

  • Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) are a tool to benchmark an animal’s genetic merit for a range of traits

  • ASBVs can be both positive and negative, depending on whether they measure higher or lower than the historical average for that trait

  • ASBVs change over time as more information is added about the performance of an animal and its relatives

  • The key to making genetic progress over time is to make sure that average ASBVs of the ram team you buy each year are superior to the rams you bought in the past

  • It is important to use a current percentile band table at the time of ram selection


The Farmanco Pesticide Handbook (Pestbook™) is regarded as the best independent guide to weed, insect and disease control in Australia.


The Pestbook™ has different versions providing recommendations for pest control in major crops across four states: Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, and Victoria. Recommendations are based on years of original research by our team of independent agronomists, as well as client experience of what actually works.


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