Diversification proves productive

Jo FulwoodCountryman

For Cuballing farmer John Patmore, the key to financial success has been diversification.

A jack-of-all-trades, Mr Patmore and his wife Doreen farm 1200ha in the southern Wheatbelt, running six or seven enterprises within his farming business.

Each of the different ventures provides him with between 10 and 20 per cent of his overall profit.

As part of this mix, he share crops 460ha of his property with his neighbour, which he said frees him up during seeding and harvest to spend time managing his fertiliser business, and running the agencies for both Milne Feeds and 4Farmers.

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Mr Patmore believes it is a good arrangement because his cropping area is too small for him to invest in the equipment needed to grow and harvest a quality crop.

"It works really well. Otherwise it would cost me half a million dollars to have decent gear to do my cropping," he said.

"My neighbour is using the latest gear and the latest technology because, with the added area, he can justify the better gear so it fits us both."

Mr Patmore said the arrangement also worked well because his neighbour had a financial interest in the outcome of the crop.

"We've discussed different ways of doing it, whether he leases the land, or I get him to contract, but if we do it as a contract arrangement then he doesn't get any benefit if we have a really good year," he said.

"Usually I pay two-thirds of the fertiliser and chemicals, and I supply the land, and he does all work, and then we both have half of the grain at the other end, and I graze the stubble with my sheep."

The business also supports 4500 ewes, providing sheepmeat and wool to his business.

Mr Patmore said he aimed for a 20-micron wool clip.

He said the season had been almost perfect so far.

"It's been really good. If you ordered a season, we might have ordered 15mm-20mm at the end of June or the start of July but other than that, we couldn't have wished for a better year," Mr Patmore said.

"The crops are looking really good, and we've probably never had as much sheep feed as we have this year.

"I guess in our area, we pay a bit more for our land, but it's not the land we are paying the extra for, it's the rainfall."

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