Monday, 26 October 2020
Signing up to Farmbench is easy. There are just three simple steps that you need to follow to enable you to identify your business strengths and weaknesses.
1. Getting started
Just search ‘Farmbench’ in your internet browser or type in the url: ahdb.org.uk/farmbench
Identify your enterprises
Before you start inputting data into Farmbench it is important you understand what enterprises you have and how they should be handled
Access your data and set up your farm
Choose the correct production year
A production year is a 12-month period which covers all financial and physical activity relating to the production of the annual crop (plant or animal).
Use 2019/20 which covers:
- 2019 planting and 2020 harvest for winter combinable crops
- 2020 planting and 2020 harvest for potatoes and spring combinable crops
- 2020 planting and 2020/21 harvest for sugar beet
- 2019 block calving for autumn block suckler or dairy herds
- 2020 block calving for spring block suckler or dairy herds
- 2020 lambing
Carry forward function
A point to note for existing user is that it is vital to use the carry forward function to move forward important information from one production year to the next.
2. Inputting your data
Data input is split into enterprises, production and costs.
In this section, set up the enterprises you wish to benchmark. Please include the enterprise name and the number of hectares/animals you had at the beginning of the production year. There are drop downs within the set up that are mandatory fields.
- For arable enterprises - Cultivation operations and treatment passes need to be entered (this is used in calculating the allocation of the fixed costs). Stored and sold from field tonnage is required for potato crops.
- For forage enterprises - Cultivation operations and treatment passes need to be entered, as well as the area that was harvested. This will determine the information that is required within the production page. How to set up your forage enterprises
- For livestock enterprises – Opening numbers for each enterprise are required. Please note that the offspring of a breeding enterprise should not be entered in the opening numbers. See the guidance for setting up Lamb enterprises and Youngstock/Beef enterprises. Be mindful when entering the details for your livestock enterprises that you can apportion costs to them. Every set up is different, if you have any queries please contact your local Knowledge Exchange Manager for Benchmarking
If you add the incorrect enterprise, there is an option to delete – the button is at the bottom left of the enterprise page.
In this section, enter all production, sales and other output information for your crops and livestock enterprises
- For arable enterprises – There is the option to enter estimated and/or actual values. Estimated sales are to be used where the crop is still in store, and actual sales are to be used where the exact price and quantity are known because the crop has left the farm. All tonnage sold and used on farm is required as well as any straw sales. For potato enterprises, sales can be split for the primary and secondary market.
- For forage enterprises – Tonnage that is produced, sold, and fed is required to be entered in this section. Grazing numbers that are required are the number of animals that grazed in each enterprise and the number of weeks they grazed for.
- For livestock enterprises – Each group of animals will have a separate production page. If the correct options are not available, please re-visit the enterprise set up page. All animals produced, bought, sold, died and any sales within this production year should be entered. If you are rearing replacements be mindful of animals being transferred in and out of enterprises.
The costs are split into six sections – crop, livestock, labour, machinery, property, and admin and finance. Not all will be applicable but please enter as much information as possible.
- Crop costs – please enter all seed (include home saved and treatments), crop protection, fertiliser, haulage, levy rates and sundries. Crop protection must be split out. For potato crops costs can be entered for seed certification and treatment, nematicides and fleece.
- Livestock costs – please enter all feed costs (including purchased forage), vet and medicine, livestock contracting, breeding, bedding, fallen stock, commission, transport, levy rates and sundries.
- Labour costs - Please include your labour costs. To account for unpaid/family labour a market wage equivalent should be included: we use £30,000 FTE. Labour costs must be entered for the data to be validated and approved. Casual labour should be included within the labour costs. A percentage of the labour must be allocated to the enterprises. The labour entry must be ‘saved’ and then the option to allocate will become available.
- Machinery costs – spares and repairs, hire and leasing, fuel, general contracting, enterprise specific contracting, and machinery and equipment depreciation are required. The three-stage allocation process is important when allocating to the enterprises – watch the videos on how to handle this for combinable crops, potatoes, livestock and forage. Machinery and equipment are valued at second-hand market value. Only include owned equipment and items on HP agreements. Equipment must be allocated to the enterprises that utilise them. Machinery and equipment are depreciated at 10%.
- Property costs – repairs, farm maintenance, water, electricity, storage costs, property depreciation, and rent and land values are required.
- Property depreciation – Enter buildings which are less than 20 years old and any large repairs that should depreciate. Drainage and lime should also be entered within property depreciation. Property is depreciated at 5%. A percentage must be allocated to the enterprises. The entry must be ‘saved’ and then the option to allocate will become available.
- Rent and land values – the costs for rented land and rented value for owned land must be entered. Rent values are not visible on group reports.
- Admin and finance costs – please enter the admin and finance costs as appropriate and allocate appropriately to each enterprise. Finance costs must be entered for the data to be validated and approved. This information will not be included in group reports but will be visible on your farm’s individual reports. Any queries you have please contact your local Knowledge Exchange Manager for Benchmarking
We frequently get asked how to handle contracting income and costs. View our guide to understand how to enter this information in the programme.
3. Understanding the results
Once your data has been inputted there are three different types of reports: individual, multi-enterprise (arable only) and benchmark. Watch the how to access your reports video. You can also benchmark as part of a discussion group.
Shows one enterprise. Arable enterprises can be reported on a per enterprise, per hectare or per tonne basis; forage enterprises on a per enterprise and per hectare basis; beef/sheep enterprises on per head of output and per LW kg of output; and dairy enterprises on per cow, pence per litre and per kg of milk solids. There are three levels of detail to choose from, essential, summary, and detailed. Reviewing your individual reports is a good way to review your data input.
Shows all crops in your rotation. This is reported on a per hectare basis and displays a farm average. The multi-enterprise report allows you to choose benchmark comparisons either regionally or nationally. The far-right column of the report displays a proportional analysis of costs through farm type.
Shows one enterprise and the benchmarks for that enterprise. Arable enterprises can be reported on a per enterprise, per hectare or per tonne basis, forage enterprises on a per enterprise and per hectare; beef/sheep enterprises on per head of output and per LW kg of output; and dairy enterprises on per cow, pence per litre and per kg of milk solids.. The three levels of detail are available and there are specific comparisons available.
You can benchmark as part of a discussion group. Do contact your local Knowledge Exchange Manager for Benchmarking for information on a local group.
The benefits of joining a discussion group include:
- Learn from and alongside your peers
- Shared experiences
- Personal development
- Acceptance of the need for change
- Break down the barriers
- Adopting best practice
Enterprises can be crops which make up your rotation, for example spring barley, winter wheat and/or the groups of animals that make up your livestock on farm, for example, breeding flock and lamb finishing.
An enterprise that offspring are born into within the production year, for example a suckler enterprise or a breeding flock.
An enterprise that includes offspring from the previous year that are being reared as replacements, for example breeding ewe replacements or suckler herd replacements.
Cultivation operations and treatment passes
Passes are broken down, to allow you to record the number of hectares which has been treated in each way. Here are the types to choose from:
heavy cultivations, medium cultivations, light cultivations, heavy drilling, medium drilling, light drilling and grass maintenance.
Treatments- number of passes for spraying, fertiliser, and slug pelleting
A production year is a 12-month period which covers all financial and physical activity relating to the production of the annual crop (plant or animal) from an enterprise.