10 July 1998

ADAS – no room f or complacency

WHEAT growers in the UK may be as competitive as elsewhere but they cant afford complacency, warned ADASs Julian Hayes.

"Growers had three very profitable years, and some allowed production costs to rise. They did not have to squeeze every last bit of yield out of their crops," he said.

But maximising output is vital, and fixed costs, particularly machinery, could be trimmed on many farms. "Some purchases were prudent reinvestment decisions, but some businesses are over-mechanised," advised Mr Hayes.

Mark Shelton, of Deloitte and Touche agreed. There was most scope to cut costs in labour and machinery, he said. Growers should look at greater use of contractors, hiring machinery, and whether labour is required all year round. On average, overheads make up two-thirds of the cost a tonne of production, he added. &#42