Detail is key to optimising farming margins

Farmers should be paying extra attention to detail to help mitigate rising costs, according to Laurence Gould.

Taking a step back from the business for 15 minutes a day can help to gain perspective, said consultant Simon Haley.

“For example, as a dairy farm, do you have the right number of cows for your size of holding and do you manage to achieve a profitable yield relative to your system? These might sound like obvious questions, but farming within your means and operating an efficient system might be the key to long-term sustainability,” said Mr Haley.

If a 200-cow herd gave 8,000 litres, the difference between hitting 80% and 100% full contract price for milk through quality and constituents, at an average of 27p/litre, could potentially be worth £86,400.

Changes to small, seemingly insignificant details lessen the impact of the influences over which farmers have no control.

Other factors to consider are:

  • Do you receive proactive vet, nutrition and agronomy advice?

  • Do you have a planned replacement strategy and what affects your culling rate?

  • Do you know the financial effect of using your own machinery compared with using contractors for silage making?

  • How successful are you in securing and retaining staff members?

  • Plan your business for the year ahead to assess profit, cash demands and where improvements can be made.

  • When selling beef or sheep deadweight, make sure correct grades and weights are at an optimum and sell promptly.

  • Opportunity cost should be looked at across the whole business – are there any areas of the business where time is being wasted with little or no benefit?

See more