Tools & Calculators

A number of useful tools and calculators have been created to assist in understanding specific components of a mixed farming system or how the components interact.

Farm Options program

Farm Options is a bio-economic tool to assess the efficiency and impact of changes in practices and inputs to farming systems that may include both cropping and livestock. It uses a water use efficiency framework to calculate the whole-farm impacts of selected farm practice changes.

To access the software click here

To access the user guide click here

A guide to develop decision matrices

Decision matrices are a simple approach to improve decision making.  They can be applied to a range of situations and enable the identification of critical factors that should be considered in a decision and the relative weighting of these considerations in the final decision.  To access the instruction guide click here.

Agricultural price guide

The Ag Price Guide is a web based tool to enable farmers and advisors to examine historic weekly prices for major commodities.  It has been created as part of the risk and decision making theme of Grain and Graze to assist in understanding historic prices and fluctuations in prices at various locations across Southern and Western Australia. 

Information is presented through a selection of graphs, statistical tables (mean, deciles) and correlations and can be adjusted for inflation.  Information is updated annually in September to the previous end of financial year (June).

To access the agricultural price guide click here

Gross margin calculator

The 2017 crop and livestock gross margin calculator published by Rural Solutions SA (PIRSA) has been converted into an Excel form to enable easy calculation.  The calculator and guide can be accessed here.

Dual Purpose grazing trade off tool

The dual-purpose grazing crop tool compares the potential reduction in grain yield by grazing of a dual-purpose wheat or canola comapred to the livestock returns. Management choices include fertiliser levels, sowing dates, irrigation amount (if any), soil type, plant density and others. Users are provided with an indication of gross margin after they enter indicative prices for grain and income from grazing. Results are derived from mathematical simulations for each site, with variation in results indicative of long-term weather uncertainty. Both tabular and graphical results are presented in a simple graphical-user interface.

To access the dual purpose cropping tool click here

Risk and decision game

This Excel based tool provides a fun way to explore the concepts of risk and decision making in a cropping operation.  Users are able to make monthly decisions around time of sowing, varieties, fertiliser, herbicides etc by choosng a series of 'nil', 'low',  'medium' or 'high' cost options.  Risk is captured by historic rainfall and prices with yield calculated based on Yield Prophet.  A net profit is determined based on the decisions made.

The tool provides an opportinity to discuss with clients or a group what is behind the decisions being made (e.g. where is the information coming from to support these decisions) and how the unknown (future rainfall and prices) may affect what choices are made.  It is not designed to provide a precise calculation of net profit.  

To access the risk and decision game and instruction manual click here

Crop drymatter ruler

These simple rulers are to be used in the paddock to help estimate dry matter in a cereal crop.  There is a high rainfall version (higher plant population) and low rainfall version (lower pant population and wider row spacing).  The rulers also contains hints to assess growth stage assessment of cereal crops and feed budgeting.

To access the crop drymatter ruler click here

Assessing the feed value of a stubble

This tool describes a simple process to assess the feed value of a stubble based on the quantity of grain and green material in a stubble.  It provides a rough benchmark for predicting weight changes in sheep grazing that stubble (NB: this tool was extensively tested in the high rainfall zone of Victoria and caution should be used if applied in other regions).

To access the stubble assessment tool click here

Feed budget tool for grazing winter crops

This simple Excel based calculator has been developed to assist in developing a grazing plan for winter cereals.  The calculator enables two different calculations to be made, either;

Default figures are for the high rainfall region of South west Victoria only.  Users in other regions may need to adjust the assumption in the calculator.

To access the feed budget tool for grazing winter crops click here

Pasture rotation tool

The Pasture Rotation tool allows you to compare pasture and crop rotation systems by selecting the years of consecutive crops and pasture and if a self-regenerating legume pasture is required. The comparison is via a simple star rating system for a range of attributes. The tool also summarises the key aspects of the main legume species used in crop and pasture rotations.

To access the pasture rotation tool click here