Arable farmers could be saving £100/ha on machinery and labour costs alone, according to one consultancy firm.

Property and business consultants Brown & Co will be challenging growers of combinable crops to identify their true costs of production, claiming that for some farmers improvements of up to £100/ha could be made on machinery and labour costs alone.

The firm can demonstrate how top-performing farm businesses currently keep machinery and labour costs at just under £300/ha while the vast majority – estimated at about 75% of farmers – spend as much as £407/ha.

Examining a rise in variable costs of 76% over the past 20 years, Brown & Co’s agricultural business consultants will also ask whether farm profits have kept pace.

With crop variable and fixed costs for the production of wheat at £902/ha, oilseed rape at £854, beans at £729 and sugar beet at £1,550, Brown & Co’s agricultural business consultants will ask visitors if they can grow for less.

“Some farmers do know their cost of production but the vast majority do not because they do not have the right management systems in place or information to hand, or if they do, they are not sure how to make the most of it,” said Brown & Co partner Paul White.

“Data recording and making the correct use of it really can pay dividends. Information held within the farm office is always the starting point to identify exactly how savings can be made or other efficiencies found, but with time at a premium on most farms, analysis of key farm data often gets overlooked. We want to emphasise how important it is that farmers address these key management issues to either protect or improve farm profitability.”

Cereals 2011 exhibitor information as supplied by Brown & Co.