9 January 1998

Right advice can turn a challenge into opportunity

Right advice can turn a challenge into opportunity

DAIRY farmings sudden plunge from relative prosperity to economic crisis has left many farm businesses – and bank managers – in shock.

But in a fast-moving marketplace, time spent hand-wringing and complaining is time wasted.

Most challenges can be turned into opportunities if you have the determination and can obtain the right kind of information upon which to make prudent decisions. That is why farmers weekly and Axient have got together to provide clearly signposted alternatives for an industry under stress.

We have brought together top industry speakers in a series of six free roadshows, strategically sited throughout the main dairy regions.

The past 18 months have seen the widest swing in the profitability of milk production for at least a generation as milk prices toppled from the possibly artificially high levels induced by the scramble for supplies after deregulation of the Milk Marketing Board in 1994. But there are still opportunities out there.

UK advantages

UK dairy farms have several distinct advantages compared with those of our competitors, not least economies of scale and efficiency. Genetic improvements already filtering through offer the potential for considerable increases in yield a cow.

Already there is some hope that prices could rise modestly in 1998, and whatever the continuing trend in milk returns, one thing is certain; with quotas likely to continue at least until 2006, there will continue to be dairy enterprises in the UK.

The roadshows will consider four possible scenarios, each of which will fit a different type of farm business.

In the first, speakers will consider the "Get Out" option, realising the assets in the dairy enterprise for retirement or reinvestment.

The "Sunset Scenario" continues the dairy business, maximising profitability for a managed withdrawal of assets over a planned period.

Specialisation option

Alternatively, for those staying with dairying, there is the "Specialisation option" – exploiting the unique strengths of your enterprise for particular markets or types of production.

Fourthly, you could "Go for Growth", expanding the enterprise and honing management for ever-greater efficiency. Axient consultants believe that in some cases falling quota prices offer a real investment opportunity to those with the necessary assets.

Each scenario will be examined in detail, with three experienced speakers shedding their own light on particular aspects.

Tom Kelly, Axient business director will draw on his experience of dairy farming economics to predict the future as a whole. Axient senior consultant Derek Gardner will zero-in on the cost of the options, especially for on-going dairy units, while senior consultant Giles Coley will look at the technicalities of financial restructuring and investment.

These roadshows have been planned to help those dairy farmers who attend not only to survive but to prosper. There is no charge, and in an offer exclusive to farmers weekly readers, anyone attending any of the meetings can claim a half-day Axient dairy business appraisal by bringing the voucher on this page to any of the meetings.

Free as part of the Axient/ farmers weekly Profitable Dairying package, such an appraisal normally costs £200. &#42

Going for growth and expanding the dairy business will be one option discussed by Tom Kelly at the profitability roadshows.

Axient senior consultant Derek Gardner will focus on cost of options, particularly for ongoing dairy businesses, and the effect of changes.

Genetic improvements and better nutrition management offer the potential for considerable increases in yield a cow and improved profits.

Home in on a profitable future at a roadshow not far from you…

Exeter Court Hotel, Exeter, DevonJan 19

Bath & West Showground,Shepton MalletJan 20

Trinity College, Carmarthen,South WalesJan 22

Shepherds Inn, Carlisle, CumbriaJan 26

The Racecourse, Uttoxeter,StaffordshireJan 27

The Wild Boar Hotel, Tarporley, CheshireJan 28

All the Roadshows start at 7.30pm and end at about 9.30pm

farmers weekly/ Axient free dairy business appraisal voucher

Bring this voucher with you to any of the "Profitable dairying – which way forward?" roadshows to claim your free appraisal by an Axient consultant. It could hold the key to your future dairy business prosperity.

NOTE: The free appraisal can only be claimed at a roadshow.