A online tool from Lantra launched at Livestock 2012 highlights gaps in learning and competence on farming businesses.

The online audit, Professional Standards Framework, helps employers build professional standards, leadership and management skills needed to boost efficiency and productivity.

The online tool contains a range of useful features to enable managers to assign job functions to staff, assess training needs and record employees’ skills, capabilities, training and achievements.

“Successful, profitable farms are the ones which invest in the skills and development of their workforce,” says Alastair Johnston, Lantra’s agricultural partnership manager.

“Given the current economic challenges that agriculture faces it is imperative that farmers and growers ensure they are equipped with the training and skills to enable farming businesses to flourish,” he adds.

He believes many of the productivity issues facing agriculture are due to the inefficient use of staff, be those fulltime, part time or family members, and the lack of leadership and management skills across the highest levels within the business.

“There is a tendency for farming businesses to invest in staff training and development which does not lead to corresponding gains in productivity,” explains Mr Johnston.

Recent research in the dairy industry has highlighted that the least efficient farms spent on average 33 hours per cow per year more than the top farms, despite their average yield being lower. There is also no positive increase in fertility, herd health status or culling rates.

Key factors include no standard operating procedures, less efficient working techniques and a large amount of time spent on technical tasks rather than management.

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