Improving efficiency will be key to arable businesses surviving Brexit, with the top performing farms able to maintain a positive income even in AHDB’s gloomiest post-Brexit scenario.
Discussing AHDB’s latest Horizon report – Brexit Scenarios: an impact assessment, which outlines three possible scenarios – Evolution, Unilateral Liberalisation and Fortress UK – the latter most severely affecting income, AHDB senior analyst Sarah Baker said: “The top 25 per cent of farms in terms of output/input ratios are in a far stronger position to cope with the changes associated with the scenario.
“Many of our levy payers are adopting a wait and see approach to Brexit. This is a high risk strategy – there is plenty that individual businesses can do now to get fit for the future.”
Ms Baker said benchmarking could help businesses better understand their costs.
However, Suffolk arable and pig farmer, James Black expressed reservations about benchmarking. “One of the problems is, is it comparing apples with apples or apples with oranges?”
Essex-based farmer, Tom Bradshaw, who values benchmarking, said: “I need to know what it costs to produce a tonne of wheat in a lot of detail.”
Paul Temple, chair, AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds, said arable farmers should consider doing something additional to what they are already doing. “The livestock sector offers opportunities. There are opportunities to go into the supply chain in pig and poultry.”
Defining objectives was key, according to AHDB’s Jack Watts. “What is it you want to achieve – social as well as economic objectives and can the current farm business deliver those objectives?”