Farm Business Planning Tools

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Gross Margin Analysis Tools

The gross margin budget templates allow comparisons to be made between enterprises. Gross margin is the financial difference between returns received from sales of produce and the variable costs associated with producing that produce. The business overheads can be taken into account using the Designing a Successful Business template.

Because of the large variation in environmental conditions and management systems it is impossible to produce any budget that has universal applicability. As a consequence all the spreadsheets are designed to allow the user to enter data (yields, costs, prices) that best suit their own environment and management system. Spreadsheets for livestock and crops have been prepared based on the climate (rainfall, evaporation, minimum and maximum temperatures) and soil types of two districts, the Meander Valley (referred to as high rainfall) and the Midlands (referred to as low rainfall) with the intention that users will modify the tools to suit conditions on their own farm.

A users guide to the Gross Margin and Financial Analysis Tools is provided here.

  Users guide to gross margin financial analysis   (433Kb) 

If you have questions, queries or suggestions for further development please contact Mary Bennett, Agricultural Economist, phone 03 6165 3163 or email

Please note: Before using the Gross Margin Analysis Tools users are advised to read the disclaimer below.

The current scope of enterprises that can be analysed using the tools attached below include:


Beef cattle breeding (high and low rainfall)
Beef cattle finishing & trading (high and low rainfall)
Dairy (high and low rainfall)
Dairy agistment (high and low rainfall)
Prime lamb production - first cross ewe (high and low rainfall)
Prime lamb finishing (high and low rainfall)
Wool (low rainfall)

Perennial Horticulture

Olives (for oil)
Wine Grapes (Chardonnay & Pinot Noir)


Cereal - Barley [irrigated and dryland] (high and low rainfall)
Cereal - Oats [irrigated and dryland] (high rainfall)
Cereal - Wheat [irrigated and dryland] (high and low rainfall)
Beans [fresh and processing] (high rainfall)
Brassica seed (high rainfall)
Broccoli (high and low rainfall)
Canola [irrigated and dryland] (high rainfall)
Carrot seed (low rainfall)
Carrots [fresh] (high and low rainfall)
Carrots [processing] (high rainfall)
Cauliflower (high rainfall)
Clover seed (high rainfall)
Grass seed (high and low rainfall)
Linseed (low rainfall)
Lucerne (high rainfall)
Maize silage (high rainfall)
Onions (high and low rainfall)
Peas (high rainfall)
Poppies (high and low rainfall)
Potato seed (high and low rainfall)
Potatoes [fresh and processing] (high and low rainfall)
Pumpkins (high rainfall)
Pyrethrum (high and low rainfall)

Note: Meander Valley is regarded as high rainfall and the Midlands as low rainfall.

Gross Margin Analysis spreadsheets

Note: These Excel spreadsheets may not open depending upon your browser settings. Once selecting any of the spreadsheets below, save the file to your computer hard drive and then open it from there. When opening the file, you may be asked to update links, if so select 'yes'.

  Livestock Gross Margins - High Rainfall (updated June 2014) v2   (742Kb)
  Livestock Gross Margins - Low Rainfall (updated June 2014) v2   (770Kb)

  Crop Gross Margins - high rainfall (updated June 2014)   (1Mb)

  Crop Gross Margins - low rainfall (updated June 14)   (871Kb)
  Dairy Gross Margin Analysis - high rainfall (updated May 2013)   (142Kb)
  Blueberry Gross Margin Analysis (updated May 2014)   (121Kb)
  Cherries Gross Margin & Profitability Analysis (updated March 2014)   (327Kb)

  Hazelnut Gross Margin & Profitability Analysis (updated May 2014)   (153Kb) 
  Olives (for Oil) Gross Margin & Profitability Analysis (updated May 2014)   (177Kb)

  Raspberry Gross Margin Analysis (udpated May 2014)   (117Kb)
  Strawberry Gross Margin Analysis (updated May 2014)   (129Kb)
  Wine Grapes (Chardonnay & Pinot Noir) Gross Margin & Profitability Analysis (updated May 2014)   (178Kb)

Financial Management Modules

A number of easy to use tools have been developed to assist farmers and investors to consider the transition to new higher return enterprises and guide investment in irrigation and perennial horticultural enterprises.  These are:
  • Designing a better business module - utilising the enterprise and gross margin analysis in a whole farm budget. This will assist businesses in making a transition and guide farm management decisions for improved profitability.
  • An investment module for those perennial horticultural crops where expenses are very high in the initial years and the majority of income is derived once the enterprise is fully established.
  • A practical investment module to assist in planning investment in new irrigation infrastructure, plant and equipment.
Please note: Before using the Financial Management Modules, users are advised to read the disclaimer below.

Designing a Successful Business (117 KB)
Profitability of Irrigated Perennial Crops (94 KB)
Irrigation Investment Analysis (124 KB)

Property Management Planning - Financial Management Module

Understanding how your farm business finances are performing is integral to being able to make smart decisions relating to the activities that you carry out in your farming operation. While the profit and loss statements and balance sheets included in your tax return provide important figures for the operation of your farm business, the financial data that they provide can be broken down even further to provide more meaningful information which can be used to assess the performance of your farm business finances over time.

The financial management module is a basic tool which helps you, as the farm operator or business manager, to do this and aims to help you to make more informed decisions relating to the management of the entire farming operation. With support from the Tasmanian Government the financial management module was developed by Tasmania Farmers and Graziers Association as part of the collaborative Tasmanian Property Management Planning Framework.

The financial management module is available from the TFGA website.

Smart Questions to Ask When Investing in Irrigation

Investing in the purchase of water or an irrigation dam is a major decision, similar to the purchase of land. Opportunities are infrequent, and the investments are for the long-term; both land and water purchases add to the lasting physical resources of the business. These investments provide the opportunity for the business to grow. So when opportunities arise they need to be very carefully considered.

The Investing in Irrigation fact sheet describes issues what irrigators might consider when there is an opportunity to source new water for irrigation. The fact sheet was prepared for the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association by AK Consultants with the support of Tasmanian Irrigation.

Investing in Irrigation Case Studies

Tasmanian Irrigation has produced real-life case studies on investing in irrigation in the north-east of Tasmania, based on the experiences of two local farming families. This information could be valuable to potential investors right across the state.

Case study: Dairy Expansion "Riversdale", Ringarooma, north-east Tasmania
Case study: Irrigated Cropping Diversification "Mineral Banks", Ringarooma, north-east Tasmania

For further information on the Upper Ringarooma ​scheme and other schemes visit the Tasmanian Irrigation web site.

Dairy Farming in Tasmania

Comprehensive information on costs and returns of establishing a dairy farm can be found on the DairyTas Into Dairy web page.

On this page ​( there are links to the following topics:  Planning for conversion program​ (feasbility of establishing a new dairy conversion); Into Dairy Sustainable Dairy Development project summary; fact sheets (Buying a dairy farm and Dairy conversions) and various presentations (Dairy industry business case; Filling the Factories; Macquarie Franklin Dairy Growth Project).

For further information on dairy enterprises and support services offered by DairyTas contact:

Mark Smith
DairyTas Executive Officer
PO Box 1352
Burnie TAS 7320

Phone: (03) 6432 2233
Website: DairyTas

Tasmanian Wine

Information on investing in the Tasmanian wine industry is available from Wine Tasmania. A guide for investors​ can be found on the Investment page. The guide was developed by the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and the Arts (Economic Development is now part of Department of State Growth) and Wine Tasmania.

For further information, including an investor checklist, details of vineyards for sale and potential partnerships contact Wine Industry Tasmania:

Chief Executive Officer
Wine Industry Tasmania Ltd
147 Davey Street

Phone (03) 6223 3770
Fax (03) 6223 1770

Important Information and Disclaimer

By using this website you accept all the terms of this disclaimer.

The information, models and spreadsheet tools accessible using this website have been prepared to assist in making farm management and investment decisions and are intended as planning tools. As such, users will need to adapt the models for their own circumstances. Users of this website are encouraged to vary the input costs, yields and return assumptions to better represent their own situation.

The agricultural sector is subject to significant variations in costs, returns and yields over time and as such budget projections will need to be reviewed to reflect the prevailing circumstances.
Changes can be readily made to the models by varying the values in the blue-shaded cells in the individual gross margin worksheets. Users of the models are also welcome to change the basic set-up of each gross margin or add further enterprises.

The Crown in Right of Tasmania ("Crown") which commissioned the development of these models and spreadsheet tools, and the consultants Macquarie Franklin and Armstrong Ketelar Consulting who undertook the development work, expressly disclaim all and any legal liability and responsibility whatsoever arising from or connected with:
  • the accuracy, reliability, validity, currency or completeness of any information on this website including the models and spreadsheets;
  • the accuracy, reliability, validity, currency or completeness of any results obtained from the use of the information on this website including the models and spreadsheets;
  • the consequences of anything done or omitted to be done by any person, either in whole or in part, in reliance of any such information, models spreadsheet or results;
  • any combination of any of the above.
None of the input costs and projected yield information listed on the website should be treated as recommendations or advice and the information, models and spreadsheet tools accessible on this website are made available on the understanding that the Crown and MFAKC are not providing professional advice. The use of this website and information obtained from its use is not a substitute for independent professional advice and users should obtain any appropriate professional advice relevant to their particular circumstances.

If you have comments in relation to this website or suggestions for further development please contact Mary Bennett at

Copyright of all information (including the models and spreadsheets) published on this website ("information") is owned by the Crown. All information is protected so far as is allowed by the provisions of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) ("the Act").
Apart from any use permitted by the Act, the Crown grants users of this site a licence (within the meaning of the Act) to download, use, print and otherwise reproduce the information. This licence is granted on the condition that the Crown (as represented by the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment ("Department")) must be acknowledged as the source of that information. Furthermore, users must ensure any third party is aware that the disclaimer applies in respect of the reproduction, quotation and use of the information.

For permission to reproduce or use the information beyond this limited licence, permission must be sought from the Department.


AgriGrowth Tasmania Enquiries
PO Box 46
Kings Meadows TAS 7249
Phone: (03) 6777 2233
Fax: (03) 6344 9814

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