BENDIGO'S Apiam Animal Health's profits have surged in part because of the rush to adopt pandemic pets and as rains ease farmers' burdens.
The veterinary group has told the Australian Stock Exchange it has made a $64 million gross profit, a 13.8 per cent increase on last year.
A wetter first half of 2020 has helped the company's dairy and mixed animal segment, while the coronavirus pandemic pushed more people to buy pets.
That has driven up demand at many of its vet clinics, Apiam has told investors.
But a drought across swathes of Australia and a struggling pig industry created a few headaches for the company last financial year.
That industry has been grappling with a high grain price and and, then, the oversupply of pork, Apiam managing director Chris Richards told the Bendigo Advertiser.
"They are starting work their way out of that now," he said.
Those challenges prompted Apiam to further diversify its business last financial year.
It launched a dairy farm consultancy, started a pets wellness program and did a deal to supply livestock disinfectant technology with the Zoono Group.
Apiam also bought three businesses including ACE Laboratory Services, a veterinary science group.
The labs are now servicing Apiam's farming clients.
Dr Richards said the company's diverse portfolio had been the backbone of its strong profits, and that it was well placed for 2021 despite COVID-19.
"We are cautious but optimistic. We've certainly dealt with the challenges the pandemic has posed to date," he told the Bendigo Advertiser.
"You never know what is going to be around the corner but we certainly believe we have everything in place to meet new challenges."
Apiam could reap benefits if farmers see bumper spring rainfall.
Last week, the Bureau of Meteorology issued a La Nina alert status as broad weather patterns point to above-average rain through the winter and spring period.
La Nina weather patterns typically bring cooler and cloudier days, more tropical cyclones and earlier wet seasons in earlier parts of the country.
The last significant La Nina event was in 2010-2011, Australia's wettest two years on record.
However, the Bureau's alert does not guarantee a La Nina event will take place, only that the typical precursors to one have arrived.