Farmers’ Handbook Highlights Volatile Farm Output Prices

Price levels for the main farm outputs have been volatile in the last year according to the latest edition of the Farm Management Handbook. 

The 2023/24 edition highlights how gross margins are being heavily influenced by changes to both output price and variable costs.

Among the variable costs are fertiliser prices, which have reduced by around 50 per cent between spring 2022 and spring 2023, helping improve business viability in some farming sectors.

The Farm Management Handbook is an essential tool for farm businesses, providing a comprehensive and up-to-date source of information on budgets for people working in agriculture.

Edited by SAC Consulting on behalf of the Farm Advisory Service, the 44th edition of handbook is now available online.

Across the farm sectors, gross margins have decreased for dairy and increased for beef, while for sheep it depends on the farming system.

Despite a reduction in fertiliser input costs, cereals gross margins have reduced following a reduction in ex-farm cereal prices. Grain prices remain influenced by world grain stocks and grain exports from Ukraine.

Farm Management Handbook editor Alastair Beattie, from SAC Consulting – part of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), said: “Farm output prices have been as volatile as ever between 2022 and 2023 and higher interest rates are adding to the uncertainty at present.
“While we cannot avoid some upward and downward movement to market price levels, large swings to output price make it very difficult for farmers to plan for the future.
“Taking a little time out and using the handbook to consider how the relevant gross margins impact upon your business is time well spent.”

The handbook is available for free from the Farm Advisory Service website. A printed edition is also available at a cost of £32 plus postage and packaging. Find out more at www.fas.scot.

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