9 October 1998

PROFIT ACUMEN COULD REAP A SUPER DIVIDEND

THE biggest drop in dairy farm incomes in living memory means the challenge is on to maintain farm profitably. This year, farmers weekly has teamed up with Axient Farm Business Solutions to award dairy producers who are reacting positively to the falling milk price.

Are you aiming to improve output and challenge costs of production? If youve made plans for change we want to hear about how it will affect profitability of your dairy enterprise.

Use your latest management accounts and current budget to highlight up to three key changes you are planning to make, and how they will affect your profit. You only need to provide finance costs or rent when you think these help illustrate changes.

As an example of changes, you may be looking to increase yield or change the way you market your milk. You might be planning to reduce feed costs by a switch to producing more milk from grazed grass. Or you may be considering reducing overheads by changing your machinery policy or by streamlining the dairy enterprise.

Competition judges will include Kevin Bellamy of the Milk Development Council and Steve Ellwood of Midland Bank. They will be looking for innovative and well thought through ways of improving profits, and how the changes impact on bottom-line business profitability.

The prize for the national winner is twofold; for the office a state-of-the-art computer package including a colour printer from Hylton Nomis Computer Solutions with Windows 98, Microsoft Office 97, CD-ROM, modem, free internet subscription and a years maintenance and support, coupled with a weekend break for two to Prague. The total value of this prize is in excess of £2500.

Second and third place runners-up will receive office hardware of their choice, for example, a new printer or fax, to the value of £500 and £250 respectively.

The closing date is Dec 15, 1998. Shortlisted entrants will be notified in February to arrange farm visits by the judging panel. &#42

ENTRYRULES

&#8226 Competition is open to all dairy farmers over the age of 17, in England, Wales, Scotland and N Ireland, except employees of Reed Business Information, Axient or Genus and their families.

&#8226 Finalists figures will be verified by the judges.

&#8226 The decision of the judges will be final.

&#8226 Prizes cannot be exchanged for a monetary values and may only be exchanged for Axient consultancy or financial services to the equivalent value.

&#8226 Closing date for completed entries is Dec 15, 1998. Send entries to farmers weekly/ Axient Profit Challenge Competition, Reed Business Information, Quadrant House, The Quadrant, Sutton, Surrey, SM2 5AS.

farmersweekly/AXIENT PROFIT CHALLENGE ENTRY FORM

Full name…………………………………………………………………………………….

Address……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………Postcode…………………………….

Daytime phone no…………………………………………………………………………

Budget (1997/98) Actual (1998/99)

Year end month ……………………. ………………………

Average herd size ……………………. ………………………

Total forage acreage ……………………. ………………………

SALES

Litres of milk sold ……………………. ………………………

Milk sales (£) ……………………. ………………………

Calf sales ……………………. ………………………

Less herd replacement

costs ……………………. ………………………

VARIABLE COSTS

Purchased & home grown

concentrates ……………………. ………………………

Other purchased feed ……………………. ………………………

Forage costs (e.g fertiliser,

seed, silage contractors) ……………………. ………………………

Vet & med ……………………. ………………………

Office & sundry costs

(e.g AI, semen, bedding) ……………………. ………………………

Quota leasing ……………………. ………………………

OVERHEAD COSTS

Ideally provide overhead costs for your dairy enterprise. But when it is difficult to apportion overhead costs show total business cost and list your other enterprises below.

Labour (including casual) ……………………. ………………………

Power and machinery ……………………. ………………………

Machinery leasing

and hire purchase ……………………. ………………………

Machinery depreciation ……………………. ………………………

Water and insurance ……………………. ………………………

Professional fees

and office sundries ……………………. ………………………

Property charges ……………………. ………………………

Complete the following only when other enterprises overhead costs are included in figures given above.

Arable acreage …………………….

Other livestock:

Replacement heifers(no) …………………….

Beef(no) …………………….

Sheep(no) …………………….

Other (type/acreage or no) …………………….

After completing the form, and on no more than one side of A4 paper, outline a maximum of three key changes in your budget.

Explain what you are planning to change, why you are planning to change it and how it will improve your bottom-line profit.

Send your completed entry to farmers weekly/Axient, Profit Challenge Competition, Reed Business Information, Quadrant House, The Quadrant, Sutton, Surrey, SM2 5AS.