Using Farmbench to improve sugar beet productivity

Charlie Parkin

NFU Sugar Adviser Charlie Parkin provides an insight into the improvements in the AHDB Farmbench tool and its use for sugar beet growers.

Benchmarking data with ADHB Farmbench can help farmers to improve productivity and help to make informed business decisions. But, did you know that sugar beet is part of the Farmbench tool too?

Why should I use Farmbench?

In common with other agricultural sectors, the sugar beet industry will experience significant change over the coming years and the knock-on effect for farm businesses is exposure to fluctuating prices, currency swings and adverse weather events, to name but a few. Growers’ ability to protect their businesses by managing these risks and build resilience is key.

Farmbench breaks down the costs of production, allowing you to compare your business to others in the sector. By highlighting business strengths and weaknesses, Farmbench allows growers to make informed business decisions.

In the post-quota world, coupled with the loss of key actives such as neonicotinoids, it is more important than ever to understand the costs of growing sugar beet. Being able to benchmark and compare these with similar growers is the first step to making improvements. With many of the growers using Farmbench now able to benchmark all the crops in their rotation, this will provide another helpful tool to make informed business decisions across their whole farm.

How will Farmbench help me?

It takes a bit of time to input the data, but you get out what you put in. Using Farmbench allows you to measure the profitability of your crop against others growers and see how improvements may be made.

A big part of the attraction of using Farmbench is that you can become a member of a benchmarking group, to learn about your data and speak to others about theirs. The benchmarking group enables the sharing of ideas, and we have seen many participants become friends.

How can I try Farmbench out?

Visit ahdb.org.uk/farmbench to find out more.

Who do I speak to about ideas I have to improve Farmbench?

The sugar beet module within Farmbench has improved significantly in recent months due to NFU Sugar collating grower feedback and working with the AHDB to implement change. If you have any suggestions to improve the system further, please email the email address below and we would be delighted to hear from you.

How can you help?

NFU Sugar is currently creating a range of grower case studies and testimonials. These have focused on growers’ personal experiences and use of the tool within their farm business management and their opinions on why other growers should engage with the tool. They have also allowed us to understand better what growers value from Farmbench and how it can be most effectively used.

If you are interested in getting involved with the NFU Sugar work on Farmbench, or have feedback for the NFU Sugar team, email Y2hhcmxpZS5wYXJraW5AbmZ1Lm9yZy51aw==.