Friday, February 8, 2013

We had a beautiful day in southern Kentucky yesterday. It was 65 degrees and sunny. Today we have dropped 20 degrees to 45 and rainy. We started putting UAN on this week, taking advantage of the good weather. Depending on how much it rains today, we may be out of the fields for the next few days.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What is it we are trying to Benchmark?

A main goal of the M.A.I.N. group  is learn from peers in farming operations with similar challenges. One of the ways we are trying to learn from each other is by comparing or benchmarking the operations in the group. But, at each group meeting we have discussed what is the best method for benchmarking. How do we account for labor and management? How do we break out equipment costs, etc.? Are we asking the right questions? We have taken as much time to discuss whether or not we are making the correct comparisons as we have discussing the comparisons themselves. These are good discussions and these questions are common throughout family businesses, not just agriculture.

Next M.A.I.N. Meeting in Nashville

The next M.A.I.N. Meeting is scheduled for Saturday, March 3, 2012 at the Hampton Inn & Suites near Opryland. The Hampton Inn is located on Rudy Circle. Other Hotels are close as well. Please get your rooms booked because the hotels are filling fast. The Commodity Classic appears to be at capacity.

230 Rudy Cir, Nashville, TN
            (615) 620-2500 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            (615) 620-2500      end_of_the_skype_highlighting       ‎ ·

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How does your profitability compare?

I was reading through the Annual Summary for Grain Farms in 2010 from the Kentucky Farm Business Management Program. There is a set of comparisons with the lower 1/3 (LOW 1/3) and the high 1/3 (HI 1/3) in farm returns and return to management.

Farms in the LOW 1/3 tended to spend about $50/A more on all inputs. These broke out to about $20/A more for fertilizer, pesticides and seed, about $14/A more in power and equipment, about $9/A more in labor (biggest portion being unpaid labor) and about $7/A more from insurance and miscellaneous costs.

Farms in the LOW 1/3 also had lower gross farm returns (about $76/A less). Gross farm returns includes livestock, crops, tobacco, custom work, etc. Farms in the LOW 1/3 received about $64/A less in crop returns. Both yields and actual sale price of commodities contribute to this difference.

The M.A.I.N. group has looked mostly at production costs and that allows us to compare efficiencies. However, the group is missing another very large area, which is farm returns. We are reporting yields, but not actual prices for commodities. It would be very interesting to compare the numbers on farm costs (broken out for Crop Costs, Power & Equip., Building, Labor, Other) and look solely at costs per acre. But, I think it would be more useful to the group to compare actual prices received for commodities. That allows us to compare marketing skills. If someone really shines in this area, the rest can learn from it. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Harvest Progressing

How is your harvest progressing? Respond to this blog post so we all can see what's going on.

The USDA Crop Progress Report is due out at 4:00 pm today (October 31, 2011). I'm curious to see how your personal operations compare with the USDA Report. 

Peer Advisory Groups, Some Differences

In the last post, I highlighted some of the common themes among successful groups. Now, I want to address some of the differences. The point of this is to emphasize that each group must develop their own identity and their own guidelines for operation.