FARM BENCHMARKING was a key message at this year‘s Royal Show, with the launch of three new referencing schemes.

The Red Meat Industry Forum‘s METRICS initiative has now been rolled out across the country, and six new regional posts have been created to handle local demand, with a view to increase this to 12 or 13 in the near future.

In the south-west, Southern Counties Fresh Foods, based at Langport, Somerset, has made the benchmarking initiative available to its Producer Club members.

Gavin Iles has been appointed as partnership manager between the RMIF and SCFF and will be available to give one-to-one advice to members.

Glamorgan based processor St Merryn is also planning to adopt the scheme for its Producer Club members across the south-west and Wales, following a successful trial this year.

The firm‘s John Dracup said it would offer farmers a half-day consultancy with a beef and lamb expert as well as the opportunity to work together to identify best practice and potential areas for enhancing business performance.

Also launched at the Show was DEFRA‘s new online benchmarking service for all farm types.

This draws on figures from the annual Farm Business Survey and allows farmers to input farm account figures to indicate where there may be room for improvement.

The tool is available free on www.farmbusinessbenchmark.defra.gov.uk.