While there is a drive to become ever more efficient in all types of agriculture, there becomes a point where bigger is not necessarily better. Whether it be livestock or arable, sheep, cattle or pigs, getting the right level of stock and equipment for your own business can make a big difference. Getting the “goldilocks effect” on your outputs, being “just right” for your own system can be the key.
20 extra breeders to a 300 ewe flock will not increase the workload or land requirement significantly. Adding an extra 200 could mean you don’t have the shed capacity if you lamb indoors, or extra lambing labour is required. Extra land would obviously be needed too, whether this is on short term grazing agreements, longer term tenancies or the potential purchasing of land. Short term summer grazing may not be available on your doorstep, so the additional daily travel time and fuel cost must also be considered, as should winter grazing availability too. Looking to purchase land could be beneficial long term, however, suitable land close to home is not always an option. The additional costs can quickly mount up, and can, in some cases have a negative impact on efficiency overall. Before increasing, careful consideration of likely additional needs, both in terms of labour and capital investment must be considered.
Bigger is not always better, it is simply another way of farming the land available, problems are not necessarily larger, but management of the issues, good or bad, that face you as a business owner may define your business moving forward! Standing still is not always a step backwards, and careful consideration should always be made when looking to change the scale of your operation.
If you would like to discuss any of these issues further, then please do not hesitate in contacting either Will Robinson at Carlisle on 01228 534371 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or one of the Agricultural Team spread right across Cumbria & South West Scotland.