As we head into a quieter period on the farm, the business side of my role as Unit Manager hots up. It is time to start reviewing the farms assets in preparation for setting next year’s budget.
This may sound like a rather dull task, but a good review of the assets on the farm and the work needed to maintain them in the coming year can reap rewards.
Dr Kay Carson from Streamline Farm Management has been a key person in implementing lean principles at farm level. She has worked very closely with me to develop a daily diary that records all needed in order to monitor the farms Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). Not only has Kay developed the diary but she has also worked closely with both myself and the Grasslands team to understand how to use, and interpret the data to ensure better informed decisions can be made on a daily basis.
The whole ethos of the daily diary is that if we don’t measure, we cannot manage. If we cannot manage, then we are not in control. How can we predict profits then if we are not in control?
Kay has also been instrumental in the implementation of annual asset reviews, explaining to me that:
“Profits are a measure of how efficiently resources are being used – and efficiency means maximising their value and minimising waste.”
She has also said: “A full review of farm assets should happen annually, so that you can plan improvements, implement changes, check your progress and take actions.”
The main areas to consider in the grazing-based system used at Grasslands are:
- Herd Health
- Tracks and buildings
- Soil and grassland
- Machinery and equipment
- Feed and forage
- Milking and parlour
“For this type of grazing-based business, the tracks, soil and grassland are more important than housing and machinery, but efficiencies can be gained throughout most businesses,” added Kay.
These are therefore the areas we have been focusing on, along with herd health, specifically around calf scours, Johne’s, mastitis and lameness.