Farm Table says:
DAFWA as the question:
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.