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Agricultural benchmarking: examples of use and benefits
7 mins read |

Agriculture is one of the world’s most vital industries. Your community would not be able to flourish without the fruits, vegetables, grains, and cattle produced. To be a farmer, you work hard to keep your costs down while trying to make enough food for grocery stores and customers so you can make money. While you may be struggling to make ends meet, some farmers are collecting enough produce and livestock to grow.

How to figure out what you could be doing wrong

You must assess whether aspects of your operations are ineffective or may be improved. Farm benchmarking is a sort of survey analysis in which you can compare your farm’s operations, revenue, and expenditures to those of other farms. This research provides a more open look at the success that other farmers may be having and how you may be able to replicate that success in your own agricultural operations. It is a tool that can help you make better farm management and cost-cutting decisions.

Benchmarks serve as a baseline against which your performance can be compared to that of others. These benchmarks can compare processes, products, or operations, and they can be compared to other parts of the business, competitors, or best practices in the industry, for example. They can also be compared to industry standards. Benchmarking in agriculture is a technique that is frequently used to compare costs, product quality, and customer satisfaction.

What is agricultural benchmarking?

Data management in agriculture is expanding, and the chances for learning about decisions made, particular fields, and management techniques have advanced significantly in recent years. People have started to use aggregated and anonymous benchmark data to make decisions based on what they see on their own farms and what other farmers do, too.

When it comes to farming, field benchmarking is when a farm’s processes and performance measures are compared to how the farm has done in the past and to how other farms have done things that are better. Benchmarking in agriculture is an essential part of any continuous improvement effort. For many years, most farms have been evaluating production performance (i.e., crop yields and animal performance) through agricultural benchmarking.

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These benchmarking pools enable producers to anonymously compare their farm’s performance to similar operations and conditions across multiple geographies, allowing them to identify where they stand in relation to others in the area, while also providing opportunities to gauge how changing practices, such as seed selection or nutrient management, could impact their fields and farm. It has been used by many businesses to make the world a test plot and figure out how to make better decisions and increase production and profit.

Use agricultural benchmarking to help your business with examples

In Northern Ireland, farmers can use data from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to do farm benchmarking. Various data reports are available for download, allowing farmers to do a comparison of their previous farm year’s results to those from the preceding year. Based on the alterations and operational changes you adopt, you can use this information to make the relevant adjustments so that your current year has a greater output.

Just casually asking your neighbors about their agricultural tactics will not ensure that your farm will instantly blossom, especially if you don’t know what the origin of the problem is. You will gain a better understanding of your operations by first examining your farming practices and then comparing them to other similar farms to yours in terms of type and size. It is possible that you may opt to invest in modern or improved equipment that will allow you to increase your output. You may also detect wasted spending in particular sections of your farm where a more cost-effective strategy is possible.
Having the most up-to-date and accurate agricultural benchmarking data will allow your farm to increase revenue while decreasing costs.

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Benefits of agricultural benchmarking

What are the advantages of benchmarking farms?

1. You need facts and figures to make informed business judgments. Business Benchmarking in agriculture provides you with a better understanding of your farm; rather than making assumptions, you will know exactly how it is operating. Having this information at your disposal will allow you to build strategies to increase business performance.

2. It is a technique that may be used to discover excessive expenses and inefficiencies, thereby helping to solidify and stabilize agricultural financial structures and boost corporate competitiveness.

3. The benchmarking opportunity allows you to investigate your company’s strengths and shortcomings, which leads to insightful decision-making to increase earnings while discovering areas for cost-cutting and value-adding to your bottom line.

4. Understanding your complete business and being able to benchmark its performance are critical tools for your farm’s long-term success.

5. Benchmarking can reveal the production and management strategies and procedures that drive enterprise production costs and profitability. The ‘drivers’ of one agricultural company may differ from those of other companies. Knowing what and why aids the farm manager in assessing the magnitude of change.

6. For example, farmers have long looked for information about their businesses from field days and farm walks, group networks, and consulting services. Benchmarking in agriculture could add more objective business comparison information to this type of information. So, while it’s a new tool, it’s just another way for farmers to receive more of the same ‘learning by comparison’ knowledge they’ve relied on in the past.

7. It can be helpful to know benchmarks for basic performance, like maximum crop yields and stocking rates, and lambing percentages, to give context to your region. If for no other reason than to get a sense of what is possible in your area.

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8. Agricultural benchmarking will assist you in achieving high levels of profitability over time. Benchmarking allows you to gain a more accurate picture of how much space there is for improvement by seeing what the best producers are achieving from similar farms. Benchmarking analyzes business performance and provides the foundation for good decision-making in order to increase profits.

Precision Agriculture: The New Benchmark

If you are a farmer or otherwise active in the agricultural industry, you are aware that soil properties such as nutrition levels, phosphorus and nitrogen levels, and so on differ from one portion of the field to the next. Smart technology enables stakeholders such as fertilizer makers, seed salesmen, and crop consultants to readily analyze variable data and advise farmers on how to optimize their agricultural operations to achieve higher yields while reducing waste. Farmers can quickly produce precision maps and import soil data, yield data, and aerial photography into their systems. These new technologies have a substantial environmental impact, such as reduced water usage and chemical use.

Precision farming is quite advantageous in a variety of ways. It improves the chances of farmers all across the world while also helping the environment by reducing waste.

Each farm is unique; however, agricultural benchmarking is a very useful tool for determining where improvements might be made. It’s one of many tools farmers use to provide specialized analysis and guidance geared to each venture’s unique needs.

GeoPard gives opportunities to analyze your agricultural business, providing metrics about crop performance, potential on-field and zone levels, and detailed statistics of data distribution.

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