Nigel Kerin & Morgan Davies Press Release

Is it luck or is it planning that sets the best operators apart from the rest of us?

It took just one trade for former NSW Farmer of the Year, Nigel Kerin, to get his business back on track after a 2½ year drought finished early this year in Yeoval in NSW.

Well actually, it took a lifetime of learning, a complete disregard of established paradigms, strict adherence to grazing charts and grass budgets, the use of mentors and business coaches, the ability to be counter-intuitive and some clever marketing…… and one trade to get the business back on track.

He bought heifers, undertook a significant AI programme, and sold them as pregnancy tested in-calf (PTIC).

Simple, right?

The scale of Nigel’s trade was big, very big.

Let’s just say that this particular trade put him in the same league as Lee Majors playing Colonel Steve Austin in a certain popular late 1970’s American TV show, but the size of the trade is not the point. The point is he was in a position to make a trade because he planned to be in that position.

Keeping feed in front of stock, even in a drought, meant that when it did rain, his stock were quick to respond and opportunities opened up for him.

Locking in prices for finished stock meant that he could confidently out-bid other re-stockers to secure the store animals he needed, even as prices increased.

He traded stock with returns that approached close to 50% in some instances, but still the lessons were relatively simple.

Nigel has a philosophy.

“If you focus on turnover, you’ll get turnover.

If you focus on costs, you won’t get anything”.

And an observation.

“One in 50 year events seem in recent history to be happening as often as 3 years out of 10, and if your business is not flexible enough to take advantage of the good years, and limit the pain of the bad years, then you’ll miss the boat”.

“You can make more money in one good year than you can make in three average years”, Nigel says.

Whether or not we have the resources available to Nigel Kerin, we can all diversify our operations to allow for a trading component in the business, because climate change and variable seasons don’t just affect Nigel, they affect all of us.

Most of us see danger and adversity in drought, but it need not necessarily be so.

Elders Bairnsdale Livestock Manager Morgan Davies says that drought can create opportunities. As Morgan explains, the first stock that get sold in drought are dry stock and those with the least genetic merit, but as droughts deepen and become more widespread, people are forced to offload some of their breeding stock, and that is when the real opportunities present themselves.

 “It’s at the back end of a drought where the real money can be made”, says Morgan.

So how do you recognise “the back end of a drought?”

Nigel Kerin uses grass budgets and grazing charts to ensure he has 4 months feed ahead of him, and doesn’t enter a trade without knowing he has the feed to finish the stock.

And the thing about droughts is, they always end. We all understand that, but not many of us are in a position to respond as we would like, when they do.

Nigel will share his story with the audience at the Gippsland Red Meat Conference.

As well as addressing the whole audience with his “big picture” views, Nigel will conduct a smaller masterclass in stock trading for those want to enhance their skills in that area.

The Gippsland Red Meat Conference has now been postponed to Tuesday October 26th at the Riviera Convention Centre.

The Gippsland Red Meat Conference is brought to you by the Gippsland Agricultural Group, in partnership with the National Recovery & Resilience Agency, Agriculture Victoria, Meat and Livestock Australia and East Gippsland and Wellington Shires, and support from major sponsors Elders, Nutrien Ag Solutions, Maiagrazing, Ruralbank, the Herd Improvement Co-operative and National Australia Bank.

Tickets for the conference are available at or follow the link on the Gippsland Agricultural Group facebook group page or contact event manager Craig Bush ph 0427 943155 or email