Checking business health
Knowing the current status of your sheep farming business is an important starting point. Are you currently making money, and what from? How reliant are you on support payments? Checking business health can take a variety of forms, with the overall objective of getting to enterprise costings so decisions can be made from there. It may be something to work on with others, such as a business adviser or accountant.
Kevin Harrison, Somerset/Gloucestershire border, England
I farm 780 North of England Mules and 180 replacement ewe lambs, which I cross to a terminal sire with lambs being sold deadweight.
This system is high performance, high production but also high cost. This means that being on top of business performance is essential. I use a number of tools to benchmark the cost of my production, which can flag up any key performance indicators that need attention so I can see what I could be doing better, as well as monitor what I’m doing well.
To keep your business healthy and profitable, I think it is important to make sure you work whatever system you’re running to the best of your ability. Set yourself a plan or a map of where you want to be and aim for it, allowing yourself the flexibility to work around the inevitable obstacles that come along.
It is always important to be aware of new technology and information that is out there to help you go forward.
- AHDB Farm Bench tool to identify where strengths and weaknesses lie within a farm business
- AHDB Farm Bench performance results for sheep and cattle businesses in England
- AHDB beef and sheep business cashflow template
- AHDB Horizon Report on the characteristics of top performing farms
- AHDB Brexit calculator
- HCC average production figures for Welsh sheep systems
- Farming Connect signposting service for farmer wanting to prepare for Brexit
- QMS figures for cattle and sheep enterprise profitability in Scotland
- Farm Business Survey (England and Wales) figures and comparison tool
- SAC Consulting’s tool for setting whole farm benchmarks
- DAERA farm performance indicators for Northern Ireland 2017/18
- Northern Ireland farm business data 2018
- Northern Ireland sheep business benchmarking tool
- HSBC ‘Forward Planning 2019’ publication with sector analysis and benchmarking tools
- Farmers Weekly ‘Know How’ page on assessing sheep performance
Enjoy in the comfort of your own home or listen-on-the-go as Kate Phillips, Harper Adams Senior Lecturer, gives practical tips on giving your sheep farming enterprise a thorough appraisal. Kate is a well-respected sheep consultant, working for Adas and independently before joining the teaching staff at Harper.