Plan now for the unexpected

Published Friday, 19th October 2018 in SAC Consulting news


With a “no deal” Brexit looking more likely than ever, farmers are being urged to ‘plan for the unexpected’ with the new edition of The Farm Management Handbook.

Produced by the Scottish Government’s Farm Advisory Service (FAS) and written by SAC Consulting, part of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) the book details positive steps farmers can take to bring control to an uncertain situation.

Available both in print and free online, the 39th edition of the Farm Management Handbook contains up-to-date crop and livestock enterprise data and financial figures. Additional information includes advice on vegetable crop margins, forage crops and farm diversification such as glamping, hovercrafts, vending machines and farm shops.

Following changes in the details of Rural Aid and Renewable Energy Schemes, updated guidance has also been provided.

Julian Bell, Senior Consultant at SAC Consulting, said: “With Brexit now looming large, the immediate priority for farmers is to think about how their business will fare in April and May 2019, when we expect to have left the EU. Are there any critical inputs that could readily be bought sooner rather than later, such as feeds, chemicals, animal health products, machinery spares?

“Are there any livestock or crop sales scheduled for that time at risk of disruption that could be moved forward or back? How will any steps taken affect margins and cashflow? Can overdrafts be transferred to a long-term loan to free up working capital?

“Which, if any, of these mitigation measures could be worth taking now depends on individual circumstances. Thinking through how the business could adapt to control these risks is likely to be time well spent even if hopefully such planning is not needed.

“In such uncertain times, all businesses will benefit from forward planning of enterprise mix, budgets, business structures and cash flows. The latest edition of the Farm Management Handbook is a comprehensive source of information which allows Scottish farmers to plan for the unexpected.”

The FAS-supported online version of the Farm Management Handbook is available for free here. A printed version is available from SAC consulting for £25 plus posting and packaging. To order a copy or to find out more, visit or call the Rural Business Unit on 0131 603 7525.

To find out more about the Farm Advisory Service, visit

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