Archive Article: 1998/09/18

18 September 1998

Plan to take the right path to dairy profits

What will your dairy business be like in 10 years time?

How do you plan to ensure its success?

In the current bleak climate, some producers might doubt whether they will see it out until next years Dairy Event. But determination and planning will help producers win through, according to consultants writing in our Dairy Event supplement.

They suggest a range of ideas including cutting production costs, optimising output, benchmarking, and evaluating your business before acting to improve it.

Whichever path you choose, technical improvement and better business management are vital for success. Get your business in shape now and prepare to profit from the changes in the future.

Farming catches cold, ancillary trade sneezes

When farming suffers, so do many people in the ancillary industries.

Take for example machinery manufacturers Case-IH and John Deere. Both are being forced to cut production in response to the worldwide downturn in demand for agricultural equipment.

Only this week, Case-IH announced its decision to axe 1000 people from its worldwide workforce by the end of the year.

Let us hope the companys Doncaster plant, where 85% of output is devoted to the export market, escapes the cuts.

Whatever the outcome, one message is clear. The strong £ is taking a devastating toll, not just on UK farmers, but many others in farming related industries.

Hagberg forecastings a tricky challenge

How much would you pay to learn which wheat fields to harvest first in order to protect Hagbergs?

More than £400,000 of HGCA levy cash has already been spent trying to devise a forecasting scheme to help growers decide.

That is a hefty price tag particularly bearing in mind this years pilot trial can hardly be described as a success.

Dealing with a quality characteristic as fickle as Hagberg is bound to be tricky. Sample timing is crucial and demand for immediate testing will put tremendous strain on laboratory resources.

The ability to forecast Hagbergs promises much, but making it work commercially is a tough challenge. Given the money already invested, it is a challenge that must be overcome.

Cattle tracing trials show some good form

Few expect the new cattle tracing system to work without a few hitches, some even predict full scale chaos on Sept 28.

But recent farm trials involving 270 cattle producers have helped identify glitches in the system. farmers weekly has been to see how the system will work and early indications are encouraging.

Although it appears more daunting to tackle than self assessment tax returns, it seems that concerns are soon ironed out.

Reassuring producers that forms are simple to complete should help set minds at rest. It should also make tackling all the paperwork less arduous.

Regroup to put those rabbits on the run

Bunny bashing should be a collective pastime.

For nearly 45 years land occupiers failing to control rabbits have broken the law. But with prosecutions rare and fines minimal the pests have had a field day.

Individuals doing their best to tackle the growing population alone often find their efforts thwarted. Unless neighbours co-operate rabbits simply re-colonise with little reduction in what can be significant crop losses. Clearance societies once held the front line in the war against this pest. Now most have disbanded. But it is time to re-group. Only a co-operative approach will beat bunny.

Norways dilemma may be relevant to us

If you have ever criticised the CAP, what about Norways sometimes bizzare farm policy?

An ancient law, designed to protect farms of a certain size, gives the farmers eldest child the right to farm that land, and cannot be revoked by wills or property sales.

Coupled with modern subsidies that pay more to farmers for living costs than for produce, it keeps life in the rural valleys. But it frustrates farmers expansion plans and blocks new entrants from coming into the industry.

Perhaps in comparison with Norwegian agricultural policy the CAP might not be as bad as some of its sterner critics would have us believe.

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