AgriCultivate: How to plan for a successful harvest 2022
As skills shortages and global supply chain disruptions continue to impact farming businesses, you may be beginning to wonder how to best plan for a successful harvest.
I've listed my top five recommendations below:
1. Proactively manage labour and skills shortages
Tight labour supply means potential employees have high negotiating power – particularly those skilled workers who drive machinery like headers. Award rates for harvest workers simply aren’t cutting the mustard when it comes to attracting staff this harvest. Consider what you can pay, but also look at how you can improve the experience for staff working on your farm.
2. Communicate WHS expectations to employees
For those farmers who do manage to recruit seasonal staff in time for harvest, it can seem impossible to keep everything running smoothly while also considering and juggling WHS policies and regulations. Online inductions and checklists will help streamline the process. Holding safety meetings with your staff before harvest kicks off will provide you with the reassurance in knowing your employees are informed about your expectations, and how to operate safely.
3. Use technology to automate harvest processes
If you haven’t already, you may want to look at ways you can draw upon technology to automate some of your processes – whether this is directly related to harvest work, (such as additional tech on your tractors), or indirectly, (back-office automation, technology that assists with domestic work and food preparation etc).
4. Have a contingency plan for harvest equipment breakdowns
Plant and equipment breakdowns could significantly impact harvest operations if you’re unable to source parts. What do you need to do now in terms of servicing, ordering parts and other forms or resiliency to guard against interruptions to your business operations?
5. Forecast cashflow leading into harvest
Review your budget and cashflow forecasting before harvest kicks-off and account for any unanticipated expenses. Undertake scenario planning to account for increases in expenses that may occur over the period.
The kitchen table is a great place to start planning for supply-chain and staff shortages potentially impacting your harvest operations.
Where to get more information and advice
For more information on how to optimise your HR and WHS processes for harvest, I recommend reaching out to Danielle McNamee at Processworx.
If you need assistance with your farm budget and forecasting, I recommend chatting to your farm advisor, or alternatively you can reach out to me.
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