9 November 2001

STAYINGAHEADOFGAME…

The agricultural industry is changing. Farms are becoming larger, machinery is getting bigger and manpower is getting less.

It could be argued that these are just the ingredients to guarantee that the future of the contracting business is assured. But it is not a simple as that – theres an awful lot of money needed to be invested (and risked) if contractors are to keep up with the demands of modern farming practices.

In this issue of Contractor Update we take a look at the opportunities for whole farm contracting and discuss the financial advantages such operations may hold for contractor and farmer alike.

Complementing this informative article is a piece on how a contractor gears his machinery investment to his annual work load – not, it seems, an easy task to get right.

For those contractors looking to diversify their operations we have opportunities to discover grain maize and short rotation coppicing. Grain maize for one West Sussex contractor is proving to be a profitable enterprise. Harvested in late autumn, it has enabled his combines to be earning good money when most others are under the barn.

Coppicing clearly has a high potential for contractors with the specialist machinery it requires to harvest. But the question is when will this potential be realised? Lack of financial support would appear to be hampering its development but we are assured it will happen.

Finally, of interest to all machinery owners is a way of ensuring that tractors and implements dont get stolen, or if they do they are easily traced. Its a high tech, high cost solution but one which could be worth the investment when the high cost of machinery is considered.