Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Benchmarking Group Aids Profitable Future

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Benchmarking Group Aids Profitable Future

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jennifer Mackenzie

The Single Farm Payment Scheme is at the forefront of the minds of thousands of farmers around the UK as they face challenges to income and practice.

At the dawn of these changes, Northumberland farmers the Nelless family have welcomed the creation of a Read Meat Industry Forum On-Farm Benchmarking Club in mid Northumberland through the feed firm Carrs Billington. Brothers Angus and Duncan Nelless and their parents farm 700 acres of grazing and arable land, running Limousin cross and Welsh Black sucklers and a flock of registered Lleyn ewes at Thistleyhaugh Farm, Longframlington.

The family has always looked to the future and how it might shape their practices.

"With the changes the single farm payment will bring, we need to do things differently with the sucklers. Under the current system, without subsidy, they're not sustainable," said Duncan Nelless.

With CAP reform and the Single Farm Payment Scheme nearing implementation it is imperative for producers to understand their costs and deadweight price per kilo in order to make the right decisions for their businesses and survive the future. The Nellesses understand the urgency and want to plan for the changes.

The farm is focused on performance already ( the cows are all artificially inseminated with 80pc calving in the spring and the remainder in the autumn.

To maximise the turnover of the beef enterprise, the Nellesses finish all their cattle and buy in additional stores to make numbers up to 500.

"The RMIF On-Farm Benchmarking Club was appealing as part of our own discussions on moving the business on, making it sustainable in 2006 and beyond," added Duncan. …

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