Monitor Farms improving businesses

More than three-quarters of farmers involved in AHDB’s Monitor Farm programme believe it has helped them improve their business, according to a new survey.

The figure stands at 78 per cent of those farmers who have attended Monitor Farm meetings and completed the 2018 survey, compared to 76.7 per cent in 2017, and continues an upward trend seen since 2015.

Ian Bennett, who farms at Prescot, in Merseyside, and is a member of the Warrington Monitor Farm steering group, said: “You can always learn something at the meetings. I like the non-commercial nature of the meetings and, as a result of taking part, we will change the way we apply some of our chemicals.”

Other highlights from the Monitor Farm programme include:

  • 9 per cent said it was a good use of their time
  • 6 per cent said it improved their business decision-making
  • 7 per cent valued the opportunity to share experience and openly discuss issues in a non-commercial environment
  • 7 per cent said the meeting topics were relevant to their businesses
  • 1 per cent said the project improved their technical knowledge.

Farmers also continue to value the Monitor Farm programme having an independent, locally relevant, farmer-led agenda.

Compared with previous years, the Monitor Farm project seems now to be attracting younger farmers. Those with ten or fewer years of farming experience made up 19.3 per cent of respondents to the survey, compared with an average 9.3 per cent over the last three years.

Tim Isaac, AHDB Head of Arable Knowledge Exchange, said: “The next area for improvement is around benchmarking. We know from studies in other countries that it’s a really valuable exercise in improving productivity. But, according to this survey, only about half of our Monitor Farm attendees are benchmarking, so the other half are missing out on the opportunity to identify improvements to their business.”

“Farmbench is a really powerful tool for benchmarking performance, so we’ll be helping more farmers make the most of it going forward.”

To find out more about Monitor Farm meetings in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, visit cereals.ahdb.org.uk/monitorfarms

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.