Benchmarking farm performance

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New benchmarking tools have been created to help farmers improve their profitability by comparing their performance against other businesses in the sector.

The tools use information collected by the annual Scottish Farm Business Survey, which measures the performance of the main farm types found in Scotland.

Published on the Farm Advisory Service (FAS) website, the Whole Farm Benchmarks and Enterprise Gross Margins tools allow farmers to check how their business compares to other dairy, specialist beef, mixed cattle and sheep, specialist sheep, specialist cereals, general cropping or mixed farms.

By comparing their performance against national performance levels, they can then identify opportunities for improvement.

The Farm Business Survey is carried out by SAC Consulting – part of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), and is funded by the Scottish Government’s Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services (RESAS) team.

It is completed with the assistance of co-operating farmers who give up their time on a voluntary basis and allow access to sensitive farm business records.

Kev Bevan, Principal Consultant at SAC Consulting, said: “Looking for opportunities to lift profitability has never been more important given the uncertainties created by Covid-19 and Brexit, but any search depends on knowing how well your farm is currently performing.

The latest whole farm and enterprise costings from the Scottish Farm Business Survey for 2018/19 have been created to help you check your performance and are available in a user-friendly form on the FAS website.”

While gross margins are useful tools for improving farm performance, farmers are also advised to establish ‘current performance’ based on several years, in order to allow for factors such as the weather in a particular year.

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