After a couple of beers last night, I was unloading the dish washer this morning and dropped a coffee mug. The mug fell and broke on the floor. That should be the end of the story, but I tried to catch the mug and ended up breaking the one I held in the other hand.

The lesson in that story is concentrate on what you’re doing; if things go wrong, continue to concentrate to minimise losses.

Written on the FGA office wall in big letters is “If someone was to focus all of their efforts on marketing grain, would they do a better job?” It’s there as a reminder of where the attention should lie. The answer to that question should never be yes.

It amazes me to hear non-client farmers talk about the markets half way through the season, quizzing me on what they should do. That’s where a strategic plan helps. You should know what to do because the plan tells you.

A good plan should still give some indication on what to do if things don’t go as planned. What are we doing if feed barley is at $210/t at harvest? Anyone can sell barley at $350, but the success of a marketing strategy should be determined by how well we can bear the troughs, the tougher times in business.

Focus on what you do. Have a good plan for a range of possibilities. Then it should be as easy and automated as unloading the washing machine.