To see and hear how JVFG can help benchmark your farming business with the best in the business you can listen in on the costs analysis at one of the regular member meetings. Guest farmers are often invited to hear JVFG results and discussion. Recently JVFG Chairman Antony Pearce invited Mark Richardson from Warter Priory Estate, East Yorkshire, to join a JVFG results discussion. Water Priory describes itself as “world class farming operation set in the heart of East Yorkshire. We pride ourselves on our reputation for quality and efficient farming. The main crops we focus on growing are wheat, barley and oilseed rape. We also grow peas in partnership with Birds Eye and some of our land is used for growing potatoes.”
So, how does a conversation about benchmarking with JVFG go? Like this:

What’s the Warter Priory farming business and why are you interested in benchmarking with JVFG?

“The farm is in the East Riding on the Wolds. It’s a private family estate farming 12,000 acres, all in hand, and with a big shoot. There are shoots six days a week. The owner of the estate has not previously been in farming at all and he is very keen to get some accurate benchmarking.
We had one attempt at benchmarking previously but did it did not got well. The opportunity that JVFG offers looks like a more independent way of doing it.”

From JVFG today what are the takeaway messages for you?

“Monitor output better.  Monitor individual operations better. There is a lot of variety in each of the businesses in JVFG. It’s the extras you do with the machinery that could be difficult to benchmark. There’s been some discussion here today on using machinery with a potato crop on farm as well as on the arable side. But I think we can make the JVFG monitoring system fit our situation. As long as there is adaptability to be able to do that, and JVFG consultant Jamie Gwatkin has said that’s possible, then we can just extract and put back as we need to.”

Does your first JVFG meeting match your expectations?

“Yes. It’s difficult to judge from just one meeting of course. But I’m sure that something useful for us will come out of it.”

Which aspects of costs would you be prioritising to reduce?

“On the machinery side, we don’t want it to be just sat there looking shiny and pretty. We have got no interest in that. It’s got to be efficient. And our operators to be efficient at using it.
Take our combines – they are all 2004. I can see that four will definitely become three and possibly become two. Then again we have logistics to bear in mind. We have have to move out of the territories because there is a six ‘o’ clock curfew for shooting. We have to be able to put a cost to that. Monitoring performance, measuring cost is the way to go.
At least we can say, for example, we’ve bought another combine because …. and have the evidence. With good benchmarking, as with JVFG, we have the justification to make such decisions.”
You can see something of Warter Priory Estate farming for yourself on their Warter Priory Estate YouTube Channel .