How to get farm businesses fit for the future will be AHDB’s main focus at this year’s CropTec event.
In the midst of uncertainty about the future of UK agricultural policy and trade relationships, AHDB is urging growers to take steps to improve performance to put their businesses in the best possible position to remain viable.
Taking place on 29 to 30 November 2017 at the East of England Showground in Peterborough, AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds stand (2.27) will feature market analysts, benchmarking experts and technical information to help farming businesses shape up for Brexit.
The call to action comes after the publication of two hard-hitting pieces of analysis on the cereals industry, published by AHDB in June and October.
The first, Post-Brexit prospects for UK grains, identified several challenges the industry would have to overcome to thrive in a post-Brexit landscape, including strong price competition from lower cost producers, the ability to supply grain of the right grade and specification and substitution of maize for other feed grains.
One of the key recommendations of the report was for the industry to adopt a strong-minded commercial and collaborative approach to tackle the challenges proactively.
This message was borne out by the second report, Brexit scenarios: an impact assessment, which modelled the impact of three post-Brexit policy scenarios on Farm Business Income (FBI).
Although not predictions of the consequences of Brexit but projections of the effects of the specific scenario, results for the cereals sector showed drops in FBI under all three scenarios, with one causing cereals farms to become loss-making.
But where farms were high performing – defined as the current top 25 per cent on an input-to-output basis – businesses remained profitable under every scenario.
AHDB says farmers have the chance now to learn from that high-performing group and to use them as a benchmark for what is achievable in the way they run their own farm businesses.
With CropTec organisers supportive of AHDB’s new approach, Jack Watts, AHDB Lead Analyst, will provide the opening address on both event days at 9:15.
Mr Watts said: “As the industry moves towards a post-Brexit era, a key message for growers is to focus on what they can control in their own businesses. Central to this is a good understanding of business performance and how their business compares with others.
“Being competitive is a key source of resilience and AHDB is here to help you achieve that.”
Following his address, Jack will be on the AHDB stand, in the morning on both days, to allow visitors to discuss competitiveness in more detail.
The AHDB stand also features its Brexit bucket list – which includes key steps businesses can take to build resilience and make the transition to and through Brexit smoother – and the latest AHDB Horizon reports.
One of the key steps is having a firm grasp of production costs and AHDB staff will be on hand to discuss AHDB’s benchmarking software, Farmbench. The team will explain how to access the software, interpret results and assess production costs.
Visitors can also pick up technical information, including the CropTec-relevant sections of the AHDB Nutrient Management Guide (RB209): ‘Principles of nutrient management and fertiliser use’, ‘Organic materials’ and ‘Arable crops’.
For further information on AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds activity, visit cereals.ahdb.org.uk
The stand will also feature information on the AHDB-owned Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research (SBCSR) unit.