The benefits of arable benchmarking

15 September 2015

It is safe to say that the last year has been an exciting learning curve for both myself and the monitor farmers; Mark Wood (Hereford), Robert Fox (Leamington Spa), Julian Radcliffe (Cardiff) and Sam Watson-Jones (Newport), all of whom have given 110% to ensure the programme’s success.

Their efforts certainly paid off, as each hosted a great programme of meetings where we were treated to open dialogue, debate and discussion.

For me, it has been particularly fulfilling to have had such strong engagement with benchmarking activity held in our area. Benchmarking really is one of the most beneficial parts of the Monitor Farm programme.

Belonging to a Monitor Farm group or Arable Business Group allows growers to access support for Cropbench+, AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds’ web-based benchmarking tool. At each benchmarking meeting, the participating growers focus on a variety of topics, all based on improving business management skills and understanding costs of production.

The process allows you to compare your costs confidentially with other local growers, highlighting where there may be room for improvement. Collaborating with your neighbours in this way is key to helping maintain a sustainable industry.

As I write this, harvest yields in our region this year have been, on the whole, positive. But of course, this has been offset by the challenging financial times we are now experiencing. This makes it even more important that growers know where they are starting from, before setting a marketing strategy. Benchmarking is a very good way to do that.

To get involved with an existing benchmarking group or to form a new one, please contact me.
07717 493015



Richard Meredith grew up on a family farm in Herefordshire, and is based in Ledbury. He joined AHDB first as a Regional Benchmarking Officer, providing benchmarking support to AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds, Eblex and DairyCo levy payers. Prior to that, Richard worked for five years with a machinery ring co-ordinating contracting and hire services in the agricultural and related sectors. As AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds Regional Manager, Richard is passionate about helping to strengthen UK farm businesses, making them more resilient in the long term.