With intense interest, farmers round the table at the JVFG summer meeting listened carefully to the cost comparison of autumn crop establishment in each of their businesses. “The JVFG has a remarkable set of figures for it’s members to work with which is backed up with six previous years’ data” said Jamie Gwatkin, the benchmarking consultant reporting back to the group from his analysis of the autumn figures.

Meaningful data to inform decisions

“This is hard, on-the-ground data from top quality commercial businesses. Other data out there that farmers refer to – whether it’s from the  John Nix management handbook or another source – is academic. At JVFG we have quality, credible and current cost analysis to enable farming businesses to make the right decisions to improve profitability.

With increased commodity prices farmers had a bit of a cushion. However, as commodity values fall and input costs rise then businesses must look again at costs they can control.”

Welcoming new joint venture farm businesses

To both the data-crunching discussions and the delicious dinner afterwards, JVFG members welcomed prospective members to the table.

Paul Garfoot, Chalk Valley Venture Farming, Wiltshire "JVFG is ideal.

Paul Garfoot, Chalke Valley Farming, Wiltshire, is impressed by what JVFG offers.

Joint venture farmers from the coastal East and rolling South of England were impressed with the quality of the information to discuss and work with.

Paul Garfoot, Arable Manager with Chalke Valley Farming of Salisbury (a joint venture of 5 farming businesses with 4200 acres of wheat, spring barley and OSR) came all the way to Cambridgeshire from Wiltshire to see what JVFG offers. What did he think? “It’s ideal. JVFG is everything we are looking for. I have come out of here today feeling enthused and keen to get involved with it.”

Improving arable efficiency: where and how

Tim Isaac, Regional manager for HGCA in the East also admired the positive vibe at the JVFG summer meeting. “It’s the perfect environment. It’s facilitated yet informal like our own Arable Business Groups – and that is the key.

Tim Isaac, Regional Manager for HGCA in the East admires JVFG benchmarking on labour and machinery costs.

Tim Isaac, Regional Manager for HGCA in the East, admires JVFG analysis of labour and machinery costs.

I think the JVFG benchmarking system is useful for those larger outfits who wish to focus on the details of their labour and machinery use which, let’s face it, is one of the biggest cost components.

Joint ventures are the obvious way forward for a large part of the industry. If we are to get the economies of scale to keep costs under control – in a very competitive, dynamic market – the only way to do that is by creating more joint ventures. Then we get the benefits of scale and cost control but, importantly, also retain the independence of the businesses involved.”