Lo-till labour costs


13 July 2001



Lo-till labour costs


Will lo-till save me money on labour?

SAVING from lo-till have been banded about over the years, and it is fair to say that many growers have actually achieved those savings. But for some the road has been more financially disappointing. I believe the reason lies with labour.

This is at the heart of any potential savings on offer, since minimal tilling enables your farm business to save on man hours. So if you cannot use those freed up hours to reduce overtime, reduce the need for casual labour or ideally reduce the overall size of your workforce, the investment in minimal tillage will be fruitless.

The key is to turn that time saved into cash. It could, for example, be put to better use such as expanding the business to improve profitability. Perhaps increase the area farmed – either through contracting, contract farming or an FBT – without the need to employ additional labour.

  • Gary Markham

    THE time we spend on cultivations has been slashed from two-and-a-half hours per hectare using a plough-based system, to just 42min/ha where the land is just harrowed twice, sprayed off with glyphosate and drilled.

    The saving on man hours is a staggering 450 hours a year. We no longer use casual labour and we no longer hire in a tractor.

    In addition, I have been able to pursue other business interests, which now amount to 25% of my income.

  • Jim Bullock

    THIS can only be appraised properly if you understand your present cultivation costs.

    If you have a man retiring who used to be kept busy autumn ploughing, then min till is a choice worth considering because it presents a great opportunity to cover more ground with less labour.

    You might have to be prepared to sacrifice timeliness and yield – but you could ultimately still save the business money.

  • Ben Freer


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