Open Day Launch – Process mapping is key to management improvement

THE Dairy Monitor Farm launch attracted a good mix of farmers who all enjoyed an informative day at Clive Hall Farm. The day’s events started with an introduction to Clive Hall as the Monitor Farm, the RDPE Livestock Northwest programme and team members by Lucy Shenton of Reaseheath College.

On the farm walk: Cows out at grass

On the farm walk: Cows out at grass

With the introductions over, Andrew Fletcher (Managing Director, Fletcher & Co LLP) said a few words and announced his overall objective for Clive Hall Farm over the 3-year monitor farm programme – this was to reduce running costs by 15%.

He said: “We plan to do this is by using an industrial style business planning method called ‘process mapping’ in order to highlight areas that, if changes are applied, will improve the farm management system. It’s all about making the best decision in every part of the farm business”.

Following Andrew’s short talk, the farmers were taken on an information-packed farm walk by Phil Asbury, Clive Hall Farm Manager, who knows the farm like the back of his hand.

Since it was a dry day and not too cold, the walk covered several fields at various stages of the grazing rotation at Clive Hall Farm. Although the farm walk focused on grassland management, through the monitor farm project other areas of focus will include; milking, animal health, fertility and youngstock management as well as the overall farm business structure.

DairyCo and benchmarking
DairyCo’s James Hague was also present for any questions throughout the day with regard to benchmarking performance on dairy farms. James said: “There are about 150-170 farmers in the DairyCo Milkbench+ scheme. We aim to get a true picture of the monitor farm business, including all costs, some of which may not be reflected in the farm accounts.

“There will be other farms that are profitable, but have other enterprises that make up for poor profits from milk. The scheme looks purely at milk production”.

After lunch, Agricultural Economist Dr Kay Carson spoke about the importance of benchmarking and how ‘process mapping’ within the dairy industry would be a breakthrough in how farms are managed to become more economical.

Kay said: “Looking at current figures from farms taking part in Milkbench+, there is the equivalent of up to 12p per litre difference in production costs between farms in the top 10% and bottom 10% on financial performance. This is nothing to do with milk prices, simply the difference in costs of production which are largely governed by management.This is where process mapping comes in”.

The day was rounded off by Andrew saying a few words, who concluded the meeting by saying, “We will be working closely with DairyCo and their Milkbench+ system over the next three years to look at and report on how we are progressing with our process mapping work. Our aim is to drop input costs by 15% over the three year monitor farm project and help our bottom line”.

Join Clive Hall’s farmer business group
If you would like further information on the activities on the Cheshire Dairy Monitor Farm or to get involved, please contact livestocknw@reaseheath.ac.uk or call Lesley Innes, Northwest Livestock Programme Facilitator on 01270 625 131 ex 308 or email lesleyi@reaseheath.ac.uk.

You can follow Phil Asbury’s blog on these pages here at www.livestocknw.co.uk. Click the “HOME” button at the top of this page for his latest update.