Challenges & Risks

Every business is exposed to risks, including technical, economic, fiscal, HR and environmental.  Farming is no exception.

In summary, we see our risks as follows:

Weather

farmers are exposed more than most to weather conditions, which as everyone knows has become a lot more volatile and, from recent experience, seemingly less predictable.  Weather impacts our day-to-day operations.  For instance, with the very substantial rainfall in 2012/13 we could not get our tractors and slurry out onto the land as we would ordinarily have expected.  Also, and more importantly, global weather extremes affect the quality and volume of food produced, which in turn will affect cow yields and fertility for some time to come.

Staff Morale

farming is hard and often unpleasant work.  Office workers have a nice life.  So, finding good staff in the first place is challenging  Also, keeping the staff motivated and alert to their surroundings as well as always focusing on attention to detail is one of the most important challenges of the farm

Livestock

Yieldstied to health, but every litre produced a day is valuable
Healthill cows reduce yields, increase vet costs and can affect others
Fertility - affects milk yields

Feed

our yield per cow is largely dependent on the quality and quantity of food.  Also, over half of our costs are spent on food.

Quality - dependent upon weather, timing of seeding and harvesting and quality of oversight
Prices - dependent on the above and global conditions, which include not just supply and demand for the feed elsewhere in the world, but also on shipping costs and thus the cost of energy

Milk

Contamination - inadvertent contamination of the tank with milk taken from a cow on antibiotics will cause the whole tank to be wasted

Lifting - extreme weather conditions, mainly snow, can cause the milk lorry to fail to pick up the milk.  This can lead to waste.

Price - we have no say over the price that we are paid

Health & Safety

accidents can result in tragedy for individuals and their family.  They impact morale and staffing temporarily and increase costs

Utility Prices

Diesel - dependent on global oil prices and refinery runs and margins

Electricity - dependent on regional and global oil & gas prices

Water - dependent on national trends

Inflation

drives wage pressures through the chain

Exchange Rates

dependent on global financial market conditions