Carcass quality feedback, monthly budgeting, management accounts and collaborative marketing are the most valuable management practices for profitable beef and sheep producers, according to a survey.

They were all rated as the most used and worthwhile business management practices by a sample of 80 English livestock businesses surveyed for the latest EBLEX enterprise costings publication.

Respondents also said that partial budgeting, using a nutritionist, participating in buying groups, long-term selling and health planning were important too (see table below).

However, the survey found that while many producers rated certain business management practices highly, a large proportion were still not using them fully. For example, carcass quality feedback was rated 4.1 out of 5 in terms of importance, but only 45% of businesses used it regularly, suggesting many still market most stock through live auctions.

EBLEX said such differences underlined the “considerable room for further improvement on even the most business-focussed units”.

Full results of this year’s enterprise costings are being sent free to all producers registered on the EBLEX Beef and Sheep Better Returns Programme. From 21 October they are also available on line through www.eblex.org.uk.

Business management task value and use

Business task

Average value rating (1-5)

Proportion using regularly

Carcass quality feedback

4.1

45%

Monthly budgets

4.1

36%

Management accounts

4.0

81%

Collaborative marketing

4.0

31%

Partial budgeting

3.9

41%

Nutritionist

3.9

51%

Buying groups

3.9

26%

Long-term selling

3.8

17%

Health planning

3.8

59%

Silage analysis

3.7

56%

Fixing interest rates

3.7

40%

Forward buying

3.6

53%

EBV terminal sire traits

3.6

40%

Obtaining at least three quotes

3.5

50%

Bioscecurity

3.5

54%

Source: EBLEX