Farmers – celebrating the skills diversity women bring to the farmgate

I am reblogging this awesome post by Grain Farmer Julia Hausler found here on LinkedIn

Its brilliantly written and her words speak for themselves #gogirlfriend #skillsmatter #strongwomen #grainslove


What is your image of a grain farmer?

I am a grain farmer. Sometimes I receive funny looks when I say this and am subsequently asked – “So do you drive the tractor, header or truck?” Of which I drive none but is this really the perception to make me a grain farmer?
My husband Tim, is very good at “in-field” operations and more importantly, he enjoys it. Along with our working man Matt, I have great confidence that my “in-field” contribution as a chauffeur and occasional stock shifter are more than adequate. So how do I consider myself a grain farmer if I’m not that active in the paddock?

Here is a list of my contribution and you can decide for yourself.
1. Staff, payroll and safety inductions
2. Grain sales program
3. Harvest logistics
4. Record keeping
5. ATO compliance
6. Mother, cook, gopher, lawn mower, mediator, nurse, school project consultant etc.

With a background in grain accumulation for large companies such as Cargill and GrainCorp I bring certain contract knowledge and market insight skills. My husband and I decided a long time ago (possibly after I mis-raked some hay) that we should work to our strengths in our farm business. So with assistance from our brokers at Rural Directions I usually start our sales program well before harvest, look for cash opportunities during harvest and then finish with post-harvest direct delivery sales with crop we decide to store onfarm.

To give this some perspective, I’ll share last year’s harvest sales program and subsequent logistics. Forward multi-grade sales were made for wheat and barley. This differed from previous years which would usually also include canola. However, with a dry cropping start, low rainfall through winter and no rainfall for spring, the canola crop struggled all year. So I sold a small proportion of canola for cash at harvest and stored the rest onfarm. Lentils were 100% sold at harvest. Some further cash sales of wheat and barley were made and the remainder used to fill onfarm storage. We grow vetch for hay and 100% of this was cut, baled and also stored on farm, mostly under cover.

There is money in the margins, so I require the right quality matches the right contract spreads at the right delivery location. So this might sound easy enough but let me go through our local delivery options. Firstly, we have GrainCorp and a private store (Wilken Storages) near town, 2 GrainFlow sites (one North, one South) each about 60km away and at least 6 packer/processor pulse buyers within 100km radius. We also use our own on farm storage. So I required ASW wheat at GrainCorp and any other grades at Wilken Storages. I required specific volumes of lentils to go to PeaCo Donald and Wimpak Minyip respectively. I required a set volume of feed 1 barley only at GrainCorp to fill contract commitments and any excess or other grades to Wilken Storages. Our exfarm sales have been delivered to Central Districts, Western Districts, Melbourne and Geelong regions of Victoria.

In the meantime, I run excel spreadsheets documenting every paddock by commodity and then variety. Once harvest starts each load delivered is entered, paddock yields calculated, loads are then allocated to contracts and the contract transfers are executed by my broker. This system gives me confidence that contracts are delivered in full on time with the right quality (or DIFOTQ for those in grain trading!) When we receive our remittance advice for the sales these are cross-referenced on the excel spreadsheet to ensure accurate and timely payments have been received and levies have been deducted. Due to the mixed nature of my sales program payments vary from 5 days for pre harvest contracted grain through to 30days for exfarm sales directly to end-user customers.

Hopefully from this small snapshot of my contribution to our grain growing business, you might start to rethink the definition of a grain grower. At the very least hopefully I have convinced your perception of a grain grower to be more than just a paddock role.

Julia Hausler

Author: Lynne Strong

I am a 6th generation farmer who loves surrounding myself with optimistic, courageous people who believe in inclusion, diversity and equality and embrace the power of collaboration. I am the founder of Picture You in Agriculture. Our team design and deliver programs that inspire pride in Australian agriculture and support young people to thrive in business and life

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