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The UK Potato Council's benchmark model has been launched online for the first time to assist growers.

The move makes it easier for growers to make the right business decisions for the future.

Government funding may also be available to help those who join Potato Council's business-improvement programme.

Over the past four years there has been a significant rise in input costs, according to Neil Cameron of property and agribusiness firm Bidwells, that has helped put the model together. This makes it more important than ever to evaluate cost profiles and understand the true cost of producing a tonne of potatoes.

"The cost of potato production rose by 30 to 40 per cent between 2005 and 2009. The primary drivers are increased machinery, labour, rent, energy, fuel and fertiliser costs. Fertiliser specifically rose by 300 per cent in 2008. Potatoes are a high-cost crop, and require a high degree of financial outlay and risk during the growing and storage season. Find out where your potato business stands against others, and it will help you pin-point areas you can improve."

Getting a comprehensive understanding of your cost profiles also helps you stay competitive in this challenging market, notes Potato Council's business-improvement programme coordinator, Phil Bradshaw.

"Understanding your costs allows you to analyse risk and opportunity and make well calculated decisions for return on investment, capital input and land commitment. A full appreciation of your production costs puts you in a strong position to make these critical strategic decisions."

The business-improvement programme allows growers to make continual improvements to their business approach. To get involved growers can take part in a facilitated group session, or they can enter their own data online by downloading the latest benchmark model software.

Visit www.potato.org.uk/benchmark or contact Phil Bradshaw at 07776 492274 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details.

The Potato Council has secured funding from Defra and the Scottish Governments skills development scheme, to assist in the development of business improvement groups, to ensure participants maximise the benefits of the programme.

 

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