SMALL FARMERS prioritise nutrition and herd health over harder-headed business concerns, according to a survey by Barclays.

Ninety-four dairy farmers polled at September‘s Dairy Event highlighted the trend which divides small farmers from large farmers.

Those with fewer than 120 cows consistently said they focused on nutrition, herd health and fertility, while farmers with more than 180 cows were more concerned about returns on capital and long-term planning.

Richard Lole, Barclays‘ national agriculture manager, said awareness of business issues among farmers had increased dramatically over the last year.

“I was struck by how much more time people are putting into planning and planning better,” said Mr Lole.

“It is due to the uncertainty surrounding the mid term review [of the common agricultural policy].”

He urged smaller farmers to “step back and look at your long-term needs and wants from the farm, then identify a clear plan of action and, most importantly, action the plan.”