EBLEX has released its latest annual benchmarking report for the year ending 31 March 2012.

The main message which comes from the report is the need for beef and sheep producers to keep tight control of their fixed costs. The report reveals the top third of producers in all categories across the English beef and sheep enterprises spent significantly less on fixed costs (see tables). The only exception being store lamb finishers where the top third of producers actually spent more on this category of costs. Even so, these lamb finishers maintained positive net margins.

Output in both the beef and sheep sectors has increased due to strong prices. Sheep producers have also benefitted from an improvement in wool prices. It is estimated that all sheep flocks and cattle enterprise margins excluding non-cash costs (unpaid family labour, rental value of owned land and interest on working capital) will be better than year-earlier levels. All except the average and lower performing suckler herds are estimated to return positive net margins. Although, as the tables show, it is a different story when the non-cash costs are included. Unpaid family labour is high in most livestock enterprises. EBLEX has estimated this at £12.50/hour and also included the employer's liability insurance and national insurance.

The full Business Pointers 2012 report can be downloaded from the EBLEX website at www.eblex.org.uk

EBLEX will be launching a new in-house benchmarking system next year. Stocktake will use actual farm data from farms and enterprises.

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