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The Economics of No-till

Discussion in 'Direct Drilling General Discussion' started by martian, Nov 9, 2017.

  1. Last time I decided to buy some fuel from them so I felt less guilty. Then had all the injectors go in my car. No idea if fuel was dodgy, but this time I'll feel quite justified in not buying anything.
  2. SimonD

    SimonD Member

    I won't be filling up from there then!
  3. Just booked my ticket. Not sure if I can make the whole day, but would have paid the ticket price just to listen to what Gary has to say. Right up my street.

    I think there needs to be a lot of very careful thought in order to make this benchmarking work well. To take your farm as an example, are you going to separate out your livestock and arable costs, or is the overall system going to be assessed as a whole? What is the criteria for admission to the group and how will figures for each farm be categorised (if at all)? Will you separate those with livestock and those without? How will you strip out diversified income from the accounts? For example, we have property costs to do with let properties often invisibly blended into our fixed costs. This makes the fixed costs seem higher than they actually are. In your case, if you use a telehandler in part for work on residential property, how will its cost to the overall business be apportioned? What about if a farm is transitioning to no-till and has not shed all of the machinery from its previous system (you have only just sold your Kockerling from the last system however many years ago. Jake Freestone has still kept his Vaderstad Top Down etc.), how will the fixed costs be judged? What of a farm who does some no-tilling and some cultivation, are they allowed to join, or is a only those who are purely no-tilling? How will accounts prepared by other accountants (i.e. not Churchgates) be processed in order that apples are compared with apples? Often fixed costs are broken down in quite different ways (for example, fuel is often put in variable costs, whereas Churchgates generally put it in fixed). What do you do if one business uses different depreciation rates in their management accounts? Over how many years will the figures be taken for so as to avoid lumpy changes to fixed costs (i.e. when, for example, we swap our tractor fleet and the machinery costs shoot up in a jumpy fashion)? Will there be a distinction between farms who are purposefully going for a super low input and lower output against those who are trying to maintain output or even get higher yields?
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017 at 8:02 PM
  4. Dockers

    Dockers Member

    Blimey, I need to have a lie down after that ! Consider my snobbishness !!
    Brisel likes this.
  5. Brisel

    Brisel Member

    How big would Gary's group be? I think if you knew a fair few of them you'd be able to get an idea of what you are compared against. Benchmarking is not aboout finding identical businesses to your own - that is impossible. It is about comparing roughly similar businesses then considering where you differ. Pat yourself on the back for the good bits & examine why you're dearer on others. It's not a competition, just a guide and a discussion point. I think you'll get more from the on farm meetings than a set of figures saying you're £x/ha better here but £y/ha worse there.

    Depending on how many participate in this, why not suggest that you have a big table of everyone's figures, business by business? Just remove the names at the top to save embarrasment. That's what AHDB did for my local Crop Bench group.
  6. martian

    martian DD Moderator

    N Herts
    Luckily, a lot of careful thought has gone into this (and not from me, my eyes tend to glaze over when presented with pages covered with figures), so that we can extract the crucial cost and output totals to get to the nub of the issue. Every farm is obviously different and no-till is something of a novelty in the UK, continuous no-till in particular, but if we get enough of a cohort together, we should give a flavour of what is possible. Probably best come and hear what Gary has to say.
    Brisel and Feldspar like this.
  7. Spoke to Richard this afternoon about it all again. Coming on Thursday so will wait to hear what Gary has to say.
    martian likes this.
  8. RTK Farmer

    RTK Farmer Member

    Cambridgeshire UK
    Car park top of Simpsons Drive almost opersite, £1.50 all day, Parking on the square is restricted to 2 hrs.
    SimonD likes this.

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