Business Briefing Newsletter for February 2018

Welcome to the second Farm Consultancy Group  Business Briefing Newsletter for 2018.   In this issue topics include energy consumption, dehydration in calves, reducing your tax, farm labour, the economic cost of producing poor grass silage and much more.

Dairy Farm Energy Consumption – Gerard Finnan (Sherborne)

With oil prices at a three year high, electricity prices are on the increase by as much as 30% quoted for farm contract renewals, it is an opportune time to review best practice, work out where you use the electric on your farm and ascertain how efficient this use is.

On a dairy farm milk cooling uses 31%, heating water uses 23% and milking uses 20% of electric consumption.  The target electric bill should be 0.45 ppl with a minimum of 40% off peak (potential to be as high as 55%).  How do you compare?  Read more ...

Dairy Farmer of Year Thoughts for 2018 – Neville & Suzanne Loder

Looking back at 2017, we've learnt that the way we have set up our grass based dairy business is very resilient to milk price volatility.  Even when the milk price is low we are still able to make a profit and reinvest in our business. This has been achieved by a tight 10 week calving block, with a 5% empty rate over 10 weeks breeding, growing and using more quality grass to reduce feed costs to 3p litre.  Read More ...

Can You Work 20 Hours Per Annum Per Cow? - Phil Cooper (Sherborne)

Do you know how many hours you work in a year?  How does this compare to your peers?  Is your work rate good or bad, efficient or not?  These are key questions you should be asking yourself when assessing your business and its efficiency.  With increasing demands on business owners, time not just from within the business, but also from the family, focusing on reducing the hours you spending working has to be key.  Read more ...

Identifying and Treating Dehydration/Scouring in Calves – Wesley Habershon (Chippenham)

Death typically occurs if a calf loses 12% of body weight.  Considering a calf can lose 5-10% of bodyweight in a day, quick identification and treatment is paramount (Garthwaite et al., 1994).  It is important that all farms have a protocol on how to deal with scouring/dehydration, with all employees capable of identifying and treating calves swiftly.  Sick calves can be identified through sunken eyes, breathing speed, coughing, runny nose, droopy ears and delayed suckle response, but the best/simplest method to evaluate hydration is neck skin tenting (Fig.1).  Here you pinch the skin, then release and count the seconds until the pinch flattens.  Read more ...

It’s Not What Your Consultant Can Do For You…. - Jack Weeks (Chippenham)

The NFU Business Symposium 2018 provided some members of FCG with the opportunity to hear from five leading agricultural professionals about the future of farming, the threats, the opportunities and of course… Brexit.  The take away message for me though was the importance of quality data and reaching out to those who aren’t aware of the threats.  Read more ...

The New Financial Year 2018/19 - Rachel Reed (Sherborne)

On 6th April 2018, the new pay rates, tax codes and pension contributions come into being.

Some payroll packages update automatically, others require you to update the figures, so it’s vital to check the pay rise, codes and pension rates are correct before running the first payroll after 6th April 2018.

The following changes will come in for the new financial year with regards to the minimum wage, tax codes, workplace pensions and income tax bands.   Read more ...

Posted in Business Briefing.