Topics at the top of the discussion list at the June meeting of JVFG included sprayer analysis, labour efficiency and group primary operations. The data was decisive. The discussion was incisive. So, after the individual business reports had been received, each business at the meeting revealed what key lessons they’re taking back to the farm and office.

Data check for data-driven decisions

“I’m going back to look at how our commercial spraying output figures to ensure that our work on cover crops and suchlike have not been mixed up in there. Also, to ensure that data entry for our purchase of Fendt tractors is correct.” Tim Merry, JV Farming

JVFG numbers reveal truths and comparisons

JVFG numbers reveal truths and comparisons

“The meeting has once again identified the very high cost of spraying and the capital cost of our machine. I’m going to back to make sure that we control the cost of spraying by perhaps replacing with a cheaper machine in due course. It’s identified a really major area of poor performance on our farm.” Richard Pearce, Manor Farms LLP

“Initially, I have to look at making sure that all our data is inputted correctly to reduce the unallocated factor as much as possible. Secondly, the big job to look at is our machinery replacement policies – 5 years, or 7 years?” Jack Smith, AG Wright

Upping the output

“We are going to be looking more at back-up for the sprayer, to see if we can lift our output a little higher, particularly in relation to the availability of water tanks and water supply across all three holdings.” James Hamilton, Granta Farming

“I am very pleased to see justification for the 8000 litre sprayer we chose over a 6000 litre sprayer. It’s really made a quite a big difference. It’s fascinating to see how the figures have worked out. And we’ll sorted out the data entry for the purchased vehicles and implements when I get home.” Olly Stratford, EC Drummond

“We’ll be looking to see whether we can allocate any of our labour that has not been allocated to our stewardship plots and game cover crops. Really good today to get behind the figures to see what the story is. That’s always been the case. “ Charles and Ian Matts, Brixworth Farming Company

Replacement policy

“I am a little bit worried that our work rates our slipping when we’ve had a big focus on bowser work. Today, it’s been interesting with the whole debate on whether you go for big capacity but not the bowser support, especially on a 5 year renewal policy. We have specifically introduced a 5 year replacement on the buggy, but work it hard for those five years. Perhaps the next sprayer we chose will have a bigger capacity but we’ll run it for longer. We’ve 2 years to go with the sprayer we have now, so we have to start thinking about what we might look at.” James Whatty, Landsman Farming

“I think we need to examine our replacement policy to see if we can’t sell our machines before they blow up! That has been a consistent pattern that we have had over the years.” Jamie Symington, L Symington Farms

Communicating for improvement

JVFG benchmarking results

Seeing is believing when the performance data is revealed.

“I think the labour efficiency that we have been discussing today has been really good, to be able to pass back to the guys on the farm. We need to take that table back to our team and explain what half an hour in the yard is going to do to that performance line. It will add up over a season. If we can pass the information from here back to them, they are the ones determining the numbers that we are putting in to the software, so explaining it to them will be a big step forward.” Pete Collins, MJ & SC Collins

Cost centre option welcomed

“I think it’s pleasing to see the work rates, particularly on spraying which we have concentrated on today, have increased year on year. A lot of lessons from analysis 2 years ago have been acted upon and that has also led to benefits coming back to the members.

I think the use of cost centres, costs in individual units and holdings, is in future going to be important and will make decision-making much more refined and focus on efficiency of labour as well.” Jamie Gwatkin, JVFG consultant

“For us, and anybody running a joint venture group, to know which part of your businesses are costing more or less to run makes a big difference.

It’ll be very good to input the different cost centres in  our business (now measurable in the JVFG software), and how they compare to each other. Also, pleasing to see how our allocation of jobs to field operations has improved now that we have changed our recording system over the last couple of seasons.” Alex Baines, Granta Farming

Drawing in forward-thinking businesses

“I am a potential newcomer to the JVFG. I think there is a lot to be gained from the cost allocation and also seeing the cost spread of the operations in the same job we are all trying to do.

What have I got out of today?  Well, to convince the partners of the business to join the JVFG!” John Haynes, MJ & SC Collins