Do an eProfit analysis to boost farm returns
Hopefully, as you sit down and read this you will have enjoyed the Christmas festivities and are refreshed facing into the next 12 months. Nobody can answer what this year holds in store for sheep farmers at this stage.
In my final article of last year I wrote about some of the challenges that I see sheep farmers facing in the future. Challenges will vary hugely from farm to farm and from person to person. So now, as the New Year has arrived, what kind of resolutions will be made by the sheep farmers of Ireland?
If your New Year's resolution has anything to do with improving your lot from sheep farming then the first step is to find out where your enterprise currently stands. The finding out that I'm talking about cannot be done in a tractor, handling unit, sheep shed or fields. I am talking about taking an in-depth look at the paperwork associated with your enterprise and working out exactly how your flock is performing. What I am suggesting is that everybody carries out an e-Profit Monitor analysis of their farming enterprise.
I know that for most sheep farmers this type of 'paperwork' is about as appealing as going for a swim in the Atlantic during January. But if you don't know where you stand, how can you take any steps to improve? And what's more, most people who have carried out an e-Profit Monitor analysis have found it a useful tool in guiding the direction of their business.
Completing an eProfit Monitor analysis is not a very onerous task, but it does take a bit of time if you want to get it accurate. Completing the analysis with incomplete or incorrect information is a waste of your time. I always recommend that any 'paperwork' jobs should be done during the day when you are fresh rather than in the evening when have spent the day working. What is required is that you assemble your chequebook stubs, lodgement books, factory and mart dockets, flock register and a profit monitor input sheet, which is available on the Teagasc client site or from your local Teagasc office.
Having assembled the above information, you are ready to start completing the input sheet. The first part of the profit monitor deals with physical data, such as weaning rate, stocking rate, lamb output (kg) etc. Some of this data will be generated by the programme as you input the data and some (eg area farmed, number of ewes to the ram etc) will have to be inputted by you.
I can't stress the importance of getting these figures right as opposed to guessing. Results obtained where some of the information has been guessed will, at best, make the result meaningless and, even worse, provide you with misleading information.