9 November 2001
Project aims to lift arable gloom

By Andrew Swallow

ARABLE farmers are given the opportunity to benchmark their businesses against the UKs top performers in an initiative that took to the road this week.

The Agriknowledge project, backed by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, aims to help the arable sector move back into profit.

Project co-ordinator Bill Clark, of consultants ADAS, said many growers are way off the top 25% of farms because they are getting the basics wrong.

“There is a lot they could do technically to change that,” he added.

One simple example would be to get the timing and the dose of fungicide right. “That can make as much difference as using a good or poor product,” he said.

The first step must be detailed financial records. “A lot of farms know the bottom-line figure, and know they are not doing very well, but they do not know why.”

The five key areas affecting farm profitability picked out in the project are machinery cost management, weed control, fertiliser use, disease control, and crop marketing.

Benchmarks are provided for each and supported with increasingly detailed information, so growers can investigate them as deeply as they want.

“The package is not a light read but a reference document, something you will go to and read the appropriate section and then put back on the shelf,” says Mr Clark.

Further roadshows will take place in Cardiff, Chester, York, Scotch Corner, Lincoln, Taunton and Newbury.

FREE ARABLE UPDATE
CLICK HERE to receive FWis FREE new weekly email newsletter, providing an instant link to all the major additions and updates relevant to your arable business.