I have embarked on something of a cost-cutting exercise within our farming business over the past couple of years.
With my mother looking after the office work and no staff to help me and my father on the farm, it became apparent things needed to be simpler and more efficient.
Little did I know then what the world would look like in 2022.
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We have changed the way we feed our cattle, moved to direct-drilling, reduced our underused machinery, altered our grass species, and started rotational grazing, among many other things.
Some of these changes have made a near immediate difference and some are more gradual.
But one thing they all have in common is that they couldn’t have come at a better time.
It feels as if we are entering one of the most uncertain periods that agriculture has ever experienced, especially in my lifetime. It’s got a lot of us thinking about how best to approach it.
Cutting costs on the farm has taught me that, despite the name, it invariably involves spending some money.
There are times when you can make do or repurpose, but these are usually few and far between.
In most cases, the savings are seen over the period of the investment rather than as a lump sum due to an immediate reduction in spending.
However, something else I have learned is that there is a big difference between cutting costs and cutting corners.
We must be careful not to fall on the wrong side of that line because if you keep cutting corners, eventually you’ll hit a gatepost!
Something else I have learnt is that there is a big difference between cutting costs and cutting corners.
The world seems to be on a knife-edge due to the compounding effects of Covid, the war in Ukraine and increases in the prices of fuel, fertiliser and near enough every commodity.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of making rash decisions without considering the future impact.
I’m sure there isn’t a farmer in the land who hasn’t reconsidered their approach over the past couple of months, especially considering the old adage, “If you’re standing still, you’re going backwards”.
However, I implore all of us not to jump into making rash decisions about our farming businesses.
Instead, give plenty of forethought before deciding whether you are in fact cutting costs or just simply cutting corners.