Published Wednesday, 31st October 2012 in SAC Consulting news
The latest edition of the popular Farm Management Handbook from SAC Consulting has been updated to reflect the way farming is changing.
Since it first appeared in 1980 the Handbook has been an essential tool for any progressive farm business, with a comprehensive and up-to-date source of information for farmers, rural professionals, students and consultants. But the way sheep and cattle are managed today is very different from even 10 years ago and the new pages now describe more modern production systems.
The authors from SAC Consulting, a Division of SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College) have thoroughly revised both the Sheep and Dairy sections. Examples of Dairy systems based on the number of litres of milk produced have been replaced with figures for high and low cost systems, including one housing cows all year round and reflecting today’s trends. The examples for sheep also reflect today’s trends, where flocks needing a lot of labour are compared with those needing less.
Although in recent years there has been a big improvement in sheep prices, they remain out of the control of producers. It is the technical issues such as lambing percentage and average weight of lamb sold that farmers can do something about and influence their income. The new sheep pages present the information in a way that helps farmers calculate more easily how they make a difference on the gross margin of an enterprise.
Profitable sheep production in the hills remains tough because there are less sheep kept per acre, fewer lambs per ewe and relatively high feed costs. Nonetheless, according to SAC Consulting Sheep Specialist Dr John Vipond, raising the lambing percentage by 10% could raise the gross margin by more than £400 per 100 ewes, particularly if more lambs can be sold to higher weights.
“The principle of ‘more lambs equals higher margins’ is not new, but the improved layout of the Handbook emphasises the importance of getting the finer details right and, ultimately improving the total kilograms sold per hectare”, he comments.
“Such simple indicators are a useful measure to summarise the years performance, compare with last year and ask why the change? With rising input costs tomorrow’s producers will need to be even more attentive to detail and the starting point is an efficient ewe and a sound business plan to stick to.”
The 2012/13 Handbook provides:
- detailed gross margins for livestock, arable, forage and organic enterprises
- information on renewable energy, diversification projects and organics
- whole farm data for English and Scottish farms
- information on labour, rural aid, taxation, contracting charges, buildings, forestry and credit
- key reference data such as residual values of fertilisers and feedstuffs, conversion rates and prices
- details of relevant contacts and further sources of information
The 2012/13 edition is now available at a cost of £34.00 plus postage and packaging. To order, or for more information, visit our Farm Management Handbook page or call the Rural Business Unit on 0131 535 3440.
For more information on the content contact SAC Consultant Robert Logan on 07909 840534 / 01555 663 562.
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