Benchmarking can help improve performance, asparagus grower says

Asparagus growers are being encouraged to compare costs with their industry counterparts as a way to improve performance.

Speaking at this month's Asparagus Growers' Association (AGA) conference, grower Stephen McGuffie - director of New Farm Produce - said a benchmarking scheme would help growers to make better business decisions.

He said: "Benchmarking is a formal system of analysing all your costs for each enterprise, showing which crops are profitable and which are not, and you can't do that on the back of a cigarette packet.

"We need to know what it costs us to grow - it puts us in a much stronger position."

McGuffie, who grows asparagus and soft fruit at the family farm at Lichfield, Staffordshire, said that benchmarking had helped him to improve efficiency in harvesting in particular.

Any scheme would be operated through the AGA office, with the identity of individuals protected for confidentiality.

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