Six members of Cultiv8 have embarked on the process of benchmarking their farm businesses with the help of the AHDB’s Teresa Meadows and Holly Howsam. Far from being the rather daunting prospect I initially feared, having inputted our data we met up in the depths of winter to start making sense of the figures!
This was followed by a farm visit kindly hosted by Ben Stroud in early May, which alongside helping to contextualise Ben’s business, also gave a group of predominantly arable farmers a valuable insight into dairy farming! From including grass leys in the rotation, to the use of slurry and lucerne in conjunction with arable cropping, I’m sure I wasn’t alone in going home buzzing with ideas. Also highlighted was the number of different systems operated by members of the group. From mixed farms to straight arable, contract farming agreements to farming everything in hand, direct drilling to ploughing, what has been reassuring is that our costs of production have been remarkably tightly grouped. Getting down to the detail benchmarking provides has certainly helped me to identify areas where my costs need trimming down, and looking at the bigger picture I’ve got a better understanding of how to ready my business for Brexit!
With plans afoot for further farm visits, together with the prospect of looking at figures for harvest 2018 following this challenging spring, the group is sure to remain interesting and relevant. I’d urge anyone thinking about benchmarking to jump at the chance!
written by Ben Beazley
More information about Cultiv8, please visit www.eastofengland.org.uk/cultiv8, email Cultiv8@EastofEngland.org.uk or call 01733 234451
More information on Benchmarking with the AHDB, please visit www.ahdb.org.uk/projects/FarmBench