Robert Ramsay, Senior Consultant, SAC Consulting.
The pace of change in farming has never been greater than it is today. With the impact of a changing climate, conflict in Ukraine and increasing inflation, what does the future hold for the economy? For farmers, there is still some uncertainty about future support and trade, but we know that loss making businesses will need to make fundamental changes to allow them to stand on their own feet. Don’t put this off; change isn’t coming, it’s here now.
In an ideal world, producers would have two options to improve profits, 1). increase the price of products and 2). reduce the cost of production. Option 1 is difficult if not impossible for most farm businesses. Instead, farmers can only focus on controlling costs and hope for a fair price when they sell their wares. All producers are seriously looking at their costs. However, not all costs are born equal and it is essential that cost savings don’t have a detrimental impact on output.
One of the best tools available to farmers to assess business efficiency is a carbon audit. Although carbon audits are designed to look at the carbon efficiency of production systems, there are very strong correlations to financial efficiency. With grant funding aimed at Scottish businesses for completion of carbon audits, bringing in a new set of eyes to take a deep dive into your business could suggest previously unexplored efficiency savings. Whether carrying out a detailed carbon audit with an accredited adviser or completing the process yourself, its likely to highlight areas which could have a positive impact on your bottom line. This process will help you position your business for the future, both in terms of profitability, environmental performance and also for future agricultural policy.
For more information on practical measures to improve farm efficiency and how these can also reduce the farm carbon footprint, visit our Optimising livestock performance webpages.
Farming for a Better Climate is funded by the Scottish Government.
This article was first published in the October 2022 edition of the Farming Scotland magazine