Business Briefing February 2021

Welcome to the February 2021 edition of the Farm Consultancy Group Business Briefing Newsletter.   In this issue you will find articles on Taking The Hassle & Worry Out Of An Organic Certification Inspection, Vertical Tub versus Paddle Mixers, The UK Maize Market, Support for Agroforestry and many more...

“The Early Bird Catches the Worm, But the Second Mouse Gets the Cheese…….” – Charles Holt (Lincoln)

This is an old saying and well known to many.  Of course, one is meant to feel sorry for the first mouse.  But it can also be true of our businesses and those who innovate.  There are many tales of inventors who were just too far ahead of time and came up with ideas that seemed so far-fetched or designs that were so weird that no one bought.  Read more...

Taking The Hassle & Worry Out Of An Organic Certification Inspection – Mark Yearsley

Recently I have been working with one of my clients, completing their Organic Inspection.  Due to Covid 19 regulations, Organic inspections are being carried out remotely via the internet and slightly different to the Red Tractor Inspections.  In this case there was not a ‘’Virtual Farm Assessment.’’   Read more...

Farm Business Incomes Without BPS - What Is your Plan? - Phil Cooper (Sherborne)

The latest farm business income results have recently been released by DEFRA.  They show the average equivalent to “Net Profit” for various farm types.  The graph below shows a summary of how the figure is made up for various farm types:  Read more...

Vertical Tub versus Paddle Mixers – Wesley Habershon (Chippenham) & Andrew Jones (Sherborne)

Choosing a Mixer wagon is a crucial decision for many dairy farmers.  Uniformity and consistency are vital especially for high input farms.  Whilst types of feed, forage type, forage chop length and flexibility all influence choice.  Read more...

The UK Maize Market – What Do You Wish to Achieve? – Wesley Habershon (Chippenham)

A few years ago, I spoke about Dent versus Flint maize varieties, Maize - Flint or Dent?

Flint has a harder pericarp/endosperm protecting the seed at germination whilst Dent has a weaker indented pericarp/endosperm.  Read more...

Support for Agroforestry – William Waterfield (Andover)

The government has recently issued clarification of how Agroforestry fits within the Basic Payment Scheme rules.  As previously discussed in this newsletter, Agroforestry offers farmers, landowners and the environment significant benefits in terms of not only financial returns, Read more...

North Wilts Newt Ponds Shortage - Holly Hawker (Chippenham)

I recently attended a meeting (socially distanced… of course!) with a new client of mine, and a representative of the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) to discuss installing ponds on my client’s estate in North Wiltshire.  Read more...

Incorporating Livestock into a Regenerative Arable System- William Waterfield (Andover)

Are grazing livestock a perquisite of regenerative farming systems?  Whilst this is a common thought and perhaps the holy grail for some regenerative farmers, there is little evidence to support this claim.  Livestock certainly bring an extra dimension to the diversity of the system and an additional bacterial flora to the soil biota.  Read more...

Red Tractor Consultation Deadline 5th March 2021 - Cari Beard (Chippenham)

Red Tractor has launched a consultation on proposed updates to its standards.  The updates will see some significant changes for all six sectors, including dairy, beef, lamb, crops and pigs.

We are urging our clients and all Red Tractor members to get involved as this is your opportunity to have your say on how you think the standards should look.  Read more...

Trehane Trust Announces £15,000 Fellowship for UK Dairy Industry Net Zero Study

The Trehane Trust has announced a bursary of £15,000 for a fellowship to research and recommend a roadmap for UK dairy farmers to become net zero, practically and profitably, within the Government timeframe. The fellowship is open to people with a keen interest in the emissions issues facing the UK dairy industry.  Read more...

How Do You Make Decisions? - Tom Malleson (Sherborne)

I have recently completed the first phase of a Savory Institute accredited course on Holistic Management.  Although many people associate this with what is often termed “mob-grazing”, the philosophy encompasses a much wider approach to how we make decisions on our farms, in our organisations and at a policy level.  Read more...

Soil, Nutrient and Biodiversity Planning - Emily Wynder (Sherborne)

As more milk buyers request that Soil, Nutrient and Biodiversity plans are completed by their suppliers – are you aware that we can produce and maintain these records for you?

Following completion of the BASIS Soil & Water qualification in 2019, I can produce these plans for you, looking at:  Read more...

Why Use the FCG Finance Brokering Service? – Ed Warren (Sherborne)

I have been helping farmers arrange long term finance for projects for some time.  When I look back at the comparisons from initial offers to the eventual final chosen offer the variance in price has amazed me.  The first deal completed quickly and saved the client at least £11,874.  One of the more recent deals was £251,629 cheaper over the term than their own bank.  Read more...

Soil Carbon - Is Your Soil a Cruise Liner or a Junk? - William Waterfield (Andover)

Soil organic matter and soil carbon are currently the centre of attention for several important reasons as repeatedly discussed in this newsletter, but soils have differing potential to store carbon. An analogy that I like, is to compare your soil with is a cruise liner.  Is your soil a mega liner with thousands of passengers - a heavy soil, or a little tourist junk - a light soil.  Read more...

Investing in Your Land – Drainage – Phil Cooper (Sherborne)

Photo of new drainage system installed on a client’s farm in 2019 which has increased grazing season and also enabled land to be reseeded.  Field drainage is something that is not talked about very often but is an essential part of soil management.  Read more...

How Important is Adequate Cow Feed Space? - Andrew Jones (Sherborne)

How important to YOU and to Your Cows is their feed space dimensions?  This is not theoretical feed space, this is actual physically used feed space.  Cows are herd animals, and it does not matter what type of system you are in, there should be enough feed space for every single animal in the herd to be able to eat all at once.  Read more...

Who is Really Causing the Increase in Greenhouse Gasses and What Can We Do About It? - Andy Dodd (Chippenham)

The 74th, Annual British Cattle Breeders Conference was held at the end of January with some fantastic speakers. The theme of the conference was – ‘Learn from the Past to Focus on the Future’.  The closing presentation from the daytime session was Professor Frank Mitloehner from the University of California discussing Greenhouse Gasses (GHG) and how we are misrepresented in agriculture.  Read more...

By The Time You Realise Your Father Was Right, You’ve Got A Son Who Thinks You Are Wrong! The Rough Guide to Succession Planning - Max Sealy (Chippenham)

Successful planning for the future of any business relies on having a broad view on its succession and deciding on what the route towards that succession might be.  For some businesses this might involve an exit plan, for others an opportunity to hand on the business to the next generation, whilst ensuring that current generations have sufficient assets and wealth to retire comfortably  Read more...

Dairy Farm Energy Monitoring – Alex Lockton RenewEV

The Farm Consultancy Group’s energy consultancy partner RenewEV has developed a new range of solutions to help farm businesses understand and tackle their energy and carbon challenges.  In October 2020 they ran a pilot study on a 300 cow dairy herd with a food processing tenant.  Read more...

Posted in Business Briefing.