One measure of how good a farming meeting is to what extent it shapes and helps your thinking as you return back to your business. So what do JVFG members still have in mind since they had their Spring ’18 discussion?

JVFG personalised report

Every JVFG members gets their report on costs of labour and machinery for the period – and improvements made.

“For me it reiterated the importance of staff and how key they are to our businesses.We talk about our machines and machinery costs but I am still a great believer in our staff.  We must discuss what they mean to our businesses and how they can, singlehandedly, make great and positive changes.” Tim Merry, JV Farming, Dorset


Join Grimsdale of Mounfair Farming, Northumberland at his first JVFG meeting

Jorin Grimsdale of Mountfair Farming, Northumberland enjoyed his first JVFG meeting.

“The importance of benchmarking  and what an excellent group this JVFG is.” Jorin Grimsdale, Mountfair Farming, Northumberland

“It was nice to speak to fellow member Edward Hitchcock about the Kelly harrow! Interesting to see even though our system looks cheap with regard to secondary cultivations, those secondary cultivations are mitigated by the higher drilling costs.” Antony Pearce, Landsman Farming and Manor Farm LLP, Buckinghamshire

“For me it has confirmed that area covered by equipment is key. Our Horsch is no cheaper to run than the Claydon, which is a bit of concern in one sense I suppose. But the more area you can get through a piece of kit the better. “ Oliver Stratford,  E.C. Drummond (Agriculture) Limited, Hampshire

“I really valued looking at some of our own figures in the latest analysis. But also looking back and seeing how they have changed over a number of years and the changes we have made to the business, and the direction the costs are going in. I am also reminded when we meet that globally – across the group – there are more ways of doing a job but they seem to come up with a very similar result.” Alex Baines, Granta Farming Ltd, Essex

Time for reflection on the problems and solutions shared.

“I enjoyed the benefits of us meeting in a small room, very interactive which was very good. And also reminded me of the benefits of getting your data entry in on time (which I did not!) . But mainly that we are starting to see, after ten years of data entry, the all-important comparison to historical data.  We are starting to see, for the first time, some really interesting trends.  In the autumn I spent some time and went back over all the data sets we have collected to glean the yields. It’s so useful and benchmarking is so important.” Edward Hitchcock, Pelham Farming, Essex

James Hamilton making his main point that farm kit is now too expensive.

“The benchmarking we do provides a great forum for discussion So the realisation that, no matter what scale you are on or how you are running your business there is a line at which costs are as far down as we can get them at the moment. Whether that will be in future or not.  Another stand-out thought is that kit is far too expensive.” James Hamilton, Granta Farming Ltd, Essex

“Most definitely the benefits of benchmarking.  And Antony Pearce was very pleased to see that the cost implication of buying big and shiny tractors was plain to see. Also I took home the concern that some of the bigger operations represented in the group have to do with labour: the hours that these good guys are doing, the health and safety concerns out there. None of us can walk away really and say “that does not apply to me” because it does.” Richard Hartley, Manor Farms LLP

Richard Pearce and Richard Hartley comparing costs of establishment

Two JVFG Richards: Richard Pearce (right) and Richard Hartley comparing costs of establishment.

“It was really useful meeting with lots of food for thought. The historic comparison on costs of machinery and labour is very, very important to us.” Richard Pearce, Manor Farms LLP

“One thing I learned is that you can hire a plough, which I never knew! But it was great to see that through JVFG we are moving in the right direction, costs are being driven down.” Jamie Gwatkin, JVFG consultant

David Merry Machinery Operator JV Farming Dorset

David Merry, Machinery Operator, JV Farming, Dorset

“Most important thing to me from our meeting is the input that we guys, as workers, have in the fields and in the record-keeping. And how with timesheet etc it’s important to get them right. We have them as Excel spreadsheets.  On a Sunday evening with my diary my laptop and my weekday diary (where I have noted all my hours and tasks) within 15 minutes I complete the weekly time sheet. It’s stored on Dropbox and then click, click, click just send it for the farm office.If the timesheet is not there by Monday morning, you know about it! It’s our record keeping that is so crucial for benchmarking.”David Merry, machinery operator, JV Farming, Dorset