Farm Tender

Back to the past

Extracted from the Farm Tender weekly Newsletter - Sign up and get the email every Wednesday morning before 6 am.

By Dwain Duxson.

Firstly, you may have noticed that we have done a little tweak to our logo and branding. They tell me it's a more modern look that fits the 2020s. However they want to label it, I am happy, and I think it stands out. Check it out below.

On with it now.....

I don't know about you, but I have noticed some signs recently, that is telling me things are going back to the way they were before. Pre covid I mean.

Don't get me wrong. I acknowledge we are still in the grips of Covid, and I think that will be the case for many years to come.

Many said the world would be a different place post-Covid. I, for one, was a subscriber. But the more I look around, the more I read, and the more I observe, I see more things heading back to where they were.

Two things that happened in the last week made me think that we are heading back to the past

1) I was at the footy on Sunday at the MCG, and everything is back to normal, walk up to the gate, head in, line up and grab a beer, sit or stand your choice.

2) I also flew in and out of the Melbourne Airport last week, and the back to normal was prevalent there. It was busy again with people everywhere, and the long term car park was almost full. People were interacting, drinking at bars and eating at food outlets. This same place was a ghost town 6 months ago.

I think we crave human interaction more than we thought.

There will be acceptions to the rules and yes I think working in an office building with others and commuting to work is one of the things that's changed a bit.

Someone predicted that we would be using QR codes to do everything post-pandemic. I don't know about you, but I find them painful and annoying. They interrupt the flow of things and can envisage a future without them because humans find them inconvenient.

I am hearing that the omnichannel model (bricks and mortar combined with an online presence) is going to be the most successful retailing model going forward. Mid covid it was only the onliners that were going to survive.

What about Ag?

Mid pandemic, we were saying how Ag was the least affected industry, and it was. Being a rural-based industry in the wide-open spaces helped, and being a provider of food and fibre meant it was an essential industry.

Obviously, it's affected our supply chains, the just-in-time days where we had everything when we wanted at our fingertips is over, for a while anyway.

I believe we will work through it and come out the other side with forms of normality.

Online Auctions became more popular over the period, but we are still going to sales and saleyards. There were 49,634 Sheep and Lambs penned at Ballarat yesterday.

I think, however, it's put more of a spotlight on relationships within Ag. We all know Ag is a relationships industry, but I think we value the people side of Ag more so now. It's gone to a new level.

For example, many (myself included, and I got it wrong), thought that the Livestock Agency model would be superseded in time. That's not going to happen. These people provide value and yes, some are better than others, but the value these specialist service providers deliver is what makes it relevant. The Agronomy service is the same.

Besides, Farmers are too busy to be doing the job of their agent.

In many cases, Farmers are surrounding themselves with more experts, more service providers than ever before because the whole business of Farming is becoming more complex.

I think the supply chains issue will see us become more self-sufficient. We will see some manufacturing return, and value adds taking place here rather than overseas.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said back in 2012 that we should be concentrating on the things that won't change in the next decade and focus our business strategy on that. As opposed to concentrating on the things that we think will change.

A good example of this would be Autonomous Machinery. I think it's an exciting advancement, but Farmers have got to gain a whole lot of trust in it before they will take it up. I mean, who is going to let an Autonomous Seeder plant the Crop when you only get one chance at it. I would be doing it the way I currently do until there is a compelling case to change over.

I am sure back in 2015 the Autonomous Car companies thought that in 2022 they would have driverless Cars buzzing around our cities, dropping people off. It hasn't happened. And the day is a long way off when I press autopilot in my Ute, nestle back in my seat and go to sleep on the trip from Dubbo to Dalby.

The lead time for adoption in Ag is spelt out in the table below (it's US data). Autosteer took 11 years for 50 percent of the Farmers to adopt. Check some of the others out.

Farmers are always finding new ways to do things, that's a given, but change in Ag is gradual. The table above proves that.

And RIP the QR code. When we don't need you anymore, you are gone...

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