With Brexit uncertainties on the horizon, it’s never been more important for farmers to understand their business costs.
Lincolnshire farmer and AHDB Monitor Farm host Colin Chappell has been benchmarking his costs for the last couple of years and said: “Benchmarking is the key to getting us through Brexit.”
He was speaking to local farmers at the summer meeting of the Brigg Monitor Farm project in June.
“The fact that I’ve benchmarked my farm, and I’ve been doing so for two years, has made a massive difference.”
Colin credits the AHDB Monitor Farm and benchmarking process with helping him to focus on his fixed costs and total overheads.
“It’s made a tremendous difference,” he said. “I can sell my grain much better now because I know my costs of production.”
Colin and other Monitor Farm groups around the country use AHDB’s Farmbench programme to benchmark their costs and understand their businesses better.
The adage – if you can measure it, you can manage it – applies to everything in Colin’s business. One of his focuses now for the future is cost-effective black-grass control.
Colin’s current black-grass control programme using Pacifica (30 g/kg mesosulfuron-methyl with 10 g/kg iodosulfuron-methyl-sodium) costs him on average £20/ac.
“Would this money be better spent employing someone to hand rogue? At a rate of roughly 1.8ac per man hour and paying £10 hour, the costs are comparable.”
After a year hosting the Monitor Farm project at Brigg, Colin is enthusiastic about the benefits of the scheme.
“As well as benchmarking, I’ve also learned more about my soils than I thought it was possible to learn, and that discussion and knowledge exchange is as vital a part of surviving future uncertainty.”