“As the clock ticks towards the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union and we await details of new agricultural policy and trade, UK farmers are preparing for change. Not knowing whether it will become harder or easier to farm profitably makes it more important than ever that farmers take greater control of the management of their business.” This is the message in the newly published John Nix Farm Management Pocketbook.
Recently published research by AHDB claims those who outperform the average farmer in each sector and especially reach the top quartile, are likely to remain viable in a post-Brexit world, regardless of support and trade deal outcomes. The John Nix Pocketbook helps to identify the differences between performance sectors. It provides details on each performance category to allow farmers to compare their figures with those budgeted for 2019. This covers gross margins and overheads in detail too; differences in overheads usually account for the biggest cost difference between the best and the rest, so this book provides clues to reducing costs on each farm whilst keeping output high.
“Some farmers are doing an outstanding job” says Graham Redman, author of the John Nix Pocketbook for Farm Management, and continues “and every farmer should strive to be, and remain in that category as it may become harder to farm profitably in coming years; we just don’t know, so to understand your business to maximise its potential is imperative”.
The farming outlook for 2019 is mixed according to the Pocketbook figures, with some sectors, mostly in the arable side of farming looking brighter than for 2018, but for other farming types, it is looking more challenging. Whilst some sectors like dairy farming, where output prices are seen rising, so too are costs making it challenging to retain the additional income as profit.
“Prices change very quickly in either direction, reminding us of the volatility of commodity markets and therefore how carefully such businesses need to be managed” remarks Redman, adding “it is also notable that even where output values are seen rising, often, the costs are rising at a faster rate, putting additional pressure on the farm profitability.” Tools like the John Nix Pocketbook are, ever more necessary for profitable farm management. Brexit or no Brexit; farming will continue, and this resource is there to help ensure your farm remains viable long term.
Diversification: Over half of all farms in the UK are diversified, some with huge success, but for others it is a distraction to the core farm business. Effective diversification can enhance farm profitability and may also protect farms from possible undesired Brexit outcomes. The Pocketbook provides ideas on making broader and more successful use of farm resources in this way.
Professor Nix: The death of Professor Nix in March this year is sad news. However, one definition of a great life is to spend it creating something that will outlast you. Through the John Nix Pocketbook, the legacy of Professor Nix continues and will hopefully continue to do so for many years yet. His Pocketbook is designed to help farmers, students and other agribusiness professionals to do precisely the same with their businesses and lives and create something that lasts.
The Pocketbook costs £28.00 +P&P. Visit www.thepocketbook.co.uk to purchase a copy, view the contents and examine some sample pages of the book.