23 January 1998

Cutting confusion

ARABLE farmers must not confuse least-cost production with simply reducing costs and inputs.

Reducing costs has an important part to play, but the focus must be on reducing the cost of producing each tonne of grain, Bill Hall, ADAS head of business consultancy, told the conference.

Labour and machinery formed the largest proportion of overhead costs and offered the greatest scope for economies. Even large farms could spend approaching £350/ha (£142/acre). But as a consultant he saw many situations where contractors charged £250/ha (£100/ acre) for a stubble-to-stubble operation.