Business Briefing Newsletter April 2018

Welcome to the April edition of the  Farm Consultancy Group  Business Briefing Newsletter.   In this issue subjects covered include an update from the Organic Market Report 2018, recruiting and retaining staff, grants, the Fresh Start initiative, the recent challenging spring weather and much more.

Recruiting and Training Staff – William Waterfield (Andover)

Retaining a motivated workforce is critical for any business and is far from straight forward.  Too often we hear of issues that, with hindsight, could have been avoided.   There are a number of specific areas that employers can manage to help themselves.

This starts before the recruitment process with the preparation of a detailed job description which identifies the tasks to be completed and the skills required in the form of a ‘person specification’.    Read more ...

The Organic Milk Market Update – William Waterfield (Andover)

The recent Organic Market report reveals that sales of organic food increased by 6% in 2017.  This compares to an increase of 2.4% for food in general.  This is the sixth year of growth for the sector.  Dairy continues to be the leading segment with a number of strong brands attracting loyal support and leading growth. 

Despite this continued growth in the value of the organic food sales, the area under organic management has continued to fall in the UK, down 17% since 2012.  This is at odds with the rest of Europe where between 2012 and 2016, the area under organic management increased by 18.7%, with France up 49%, Italy 53.9% and Belgium 31%.  Read more ...

Grant Success Stories and Grant Updates – Steph Emmerson (Chippenham)

I have not been in my role at The Farm Consultancy Group for as many years as some of my ‘more experienced’ colleagues, however, over my 3 years I have never seen, (I’m sure my colleagues will agree) so many grants available at one time.  Whether this is BREXIT related or not, now is a great opportunity for small rural/farming businesses to be investing in that ‘highly innovative’ piece of equipment or investing in infrastructure to allow for a diversified income into the business.  Read more ...

Fresh Start – Phil Cooper (Sherborne)

 No, this is not a new energy drink or breakfast cereal, it is an initiative that has been set up to help put land owners, who no longer want to actively farm, together with farmers or new entrants who want to start farming.  The aim is to act as a “dating agency” for both sides to bring them together in some form of joint venture, e.g. share farming, contract farming, tenancy, etc, see  http://www.freshstartlandenterprise.org.uk/

Read more ...

Separating Genetic Potential from Management Effect – Andy Dodd (Chippenham)

 As market conditions, weather, management choices and milk contracts change, it becomes increasingly important to ensure your breeding decisions meet your farms’ needs.  Both the main dairy breeding indexes in the UK (Profitable Lifetime Index - £PLI and Spring Calving Index - £SCI) are well established and strive to promote strong health traits; however, it is important to remember that they are average indexes and just because a bull is suitable for your neighbour, something better maybe available for you.  Read more ...

Late Spring? – Gerard Finnan (Sherborne)

After a challenging spring weather wise, with hopefully better weather ahead, are you prepared to turn out cattle to grass? Just because grass growth has been delayed or you are later getting fertiliser applied, doesn’t mean cattle cannot go out once the weather warms up.  Farmers more often admit that in hindsight, cattle could have been turned out earlier when Mother Nature compensates in later spring for a slow start.  Read more ...

Intervention Stocks of SMP – Charles Holt (Lincoln)

We are all aware of the vast quantity of SMP in intervention, at around 380,000 tonnes.  The last tender run by the EU managed to shift just 4,337 tonnes of the stuff, at €1,110 per tonne.  Offered prices ranged from €650 to €1,270 per tonne, and are well down on the actual selling price the EU achieved in November, of €1,390 per tonne.   Read more ...

Posted in Business Briefing.