How do you match up as an organic farmer?

We have been running some organic benchmarking with a  small group of arable producers and now have 5 year’s data.  There are some interesting details which come out of this exercise to do with long terms trends.  It might be of interest for you to think about how your farming business compares? From a marketing perspective it gives some very clear information about the levels that are required in order to provide for a sustainable business.

The headline statistics:

  • It costs about £1050 – £1100 per ha to grow an organic cereal crop but beans are a bit cheaper
  • Average wheat yield was 4.29 t / Ha and for beans it was 2.63 t/Ha
  • There was a 3.01 t/Ha spread between the highest yielding year for wheat and the lowest.  For beans the spread was 3.16 t/Ha

So how can we use this information?  Firstly, as a farming business you can use some of this data as a point of comparison to see how your cereal production measures up and this can then lead to questions as to where and why the differences occur.  We can also use it to look at the longer term sustainability of markets.  If we know the average cost of production per Ha and the average yield we know where the market need to be in order to provide a profitable return to the farmer.  The data would put this figure at in the mid £240’s which is above most sales from the 2013 harvest.

With conventional feed grains trading at about £150 for November 2014 we need a premium closer to £100 per tonne than looks likely at present.  Perhaps a fair price for organic grain should be a £100 premium over the conventional ex farm value?

The data also shows that beans should have  a premium of about £100 per tonne over the organic cereal price.  This level is rarely achievable.

This work has come about through the work undertaken with the farmers supplying BQP with feed wheat, feed barley and beans.  This is a market that is seeking to maximise the tonnage of UK grown feed grains fed to pigs.  It is  known market to grow for and has been a successful venture for the farmers currently supplying it.  If you would like to get involved with this group and grow for a known, secure market please contact us on 08456 521 706