Benchmarking – keeping a finger on your business’s pulse

DAFWA - Tilwin Westrup

Type: PDF
Knowledge level: Introductory

Farm Table says:

Water benchmarking is not all about striving for efficiency gains - it also about identifying opportunities for increased productivity. The case study outline in here resulted in an increased farm gate return of over $500,000.

DAFWA as the question:

Why Benchmark?

They state that maintaining performance as well as identifying opportunities are at the center of why you should benchmark.

In addition, the process of monitoring your business assists with:

  • Constraint management – maximising the farm’s potential within its limiting factors.
  • Increased productivity and quality ‑ identifying practices and varieties that perform best.
  • Cost reduction – focus in areas where significant efficiency gains can be made from small changes.
  • Improved efficiency – new technology and methodology is not cost effective on every scale and requires careful evaluation.
  • Identification of opportunity – strategic expansion or reduction of an enterprise can bring impressive results on dollar return for effort and profitability.

What should I be recording?

  • Return and production volume per crop variety for each block planting.
  • Input and production costs per variety for each block plant.
  • Pack-out percentage and class breakdown per variety for each block planting.
  • The area associated with each variety and block planted.
  • Monthly water use per block planting.
  • Daily irrigation records for each valve operated.

The following example is walked through to demonstrate the benefits of benchmarking:

  • You use an average 10ML/ha to grow carrots and 12ML/ha to irrigate tomatoes, giving a farm water use estimate of 95ML/y.
  • Industry averages for your area indicate that carrots require 8ML/ha and tomatoes need 10ML/ha. This indicates you may be overwatering your crops.
  • A change in your irrigation scheduling practice could save up to 40ML annually, a surplus that would reduce the impact of dry years or represent the potential increase in production.
  • On average your farm produces 45 tonnes per hectare of carrots and 70t/ha of tomatoes, with the average return to the farm gate being $400/t and $2/kg respectively.
  • A 40ML saving could represent another 5 hectares of carrots and possible increase of $90 000 in farm gate return (turnover).
  • Alternatively, using the same 40ML water saving could allow another 4 hectares of tomatoes to be grown, realizing a greater potential of $560 000 in farm gate return.
  • In this case, the value of your water is $2250/ML for carrots and $14 000/ML for tomatoes.
2016 - Australia - DAFWA - Tilwin Westrup
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