A study looking at farmer behaviour has revealed that a key factor in successful dairy production lies in the producer’s mindset.

A total of 100 farmers on Promar’s Farm Business Accounts service, with a range of size and performance figures, were asked to carry out a questionnaire about their attitudes and behaviour.

Areas they were asked about covered management style, staff, goals and objectives, and personal views. The answers were then analysed by statisticians at Reading University and certain attitudes were linked to the farm profits.

“We have managed to put a financial figure on these attributes,” said Promar International director David Cooke, speaking at a Livestock 2012 seminar.

“A successful dairy farmer focuses on maximising profit, thinks being successful is important, shares ideas with others, benchmarks performance at least once a year, spends more time farming than in the office doing admin, and invests in training and developing himself and his staff,” added Mr Cooke.

Key Findings

  • Farmers who said feeling successful was important were £15,000 more profitable.
  • Farmers who said they managed their business with the view of making profit were £20,000 more profitable.
  • Farmers who said they enjoyed talking to others and felt that it stimulated ideas appeared to generate £20,000 more profit a year than those that didn’t.
  • Farmers who said they compared themselves to industry benchmarks at least once a year generated £10,000 more profit than those who didn’t – 5% of those surveyed didn’t do any form of benchmarking and they were the ones who were the least successful.
  • The producers who spent the most time in the office doing admin were £15,000 less profitable than those who spent more time out on the farm.
  • Farmers who said training was a worthwhile investment were £5,000 more profitable, while those that hired new staff to fill a skills gap were £4,000 more profitable.
  • Producers who said poor results were out of their control were £15,000 less profitable while those who said turnover was essential for long-term success were £12,000 less profitable.

For more on this topic

See our Livestock 2012 event page