The arable sector is increasingly looking to tap into the value of livestock farming, enhancing the rotation for the dual benefit of the business. Would an AFU present you with an opportunity to expand?
Analysing the pros and cons for arable farmers:
With more than adequate space, opportunities for rotation systems and adaptable buildings, arable farmers are considering the possibilities that converting to an AFU could bring.
Secured straw outlet
Straw has a guaranteed outlet with a transfer value that can sustain both enterprises.
Cashflow & labour planning
A well planned cycle can utilise labour during quieter periods of the year and provide a consistent cashflow between harvests.
Forward returns can be secured
Well planned intensive beef enterprises can create a reliable monthly income within a short time period. Bringing in monthly batches of calves or cattle will soon produce an outward load of finished beasts which can be drawn and marketed by Meadow Quality to maximise returns.
Options include organic premiums & regional bonus’ schemes which reward above weekly base prices or whole life integration, which renumerates completely away from the commercial trade.
Unlock grass in the rotation
Benefit from a use for grass within the rotation, without the need for additional investment in water and fencing infrastructure.
Building adaptation & infrastructure
Arable farms are already set up with suitable access, tracks and large storage sheds.
Factors to consider
The cost of biosecurity
The initial investment to secure your holding can be considerable, but it is arguably the most important part of your application. It is vital for making your AFU a success. Meeting these requirements does not necessarily mean permanent fixtures need installing (e.g. walls), careful planning of specialist equipment may allow you to secure your boundaries with minimal cost and allow for rapid changes in future.
Changing the use of your farm buildings will reduce your storage capacity. It is important to note that not all buildings will be suitable for cattle housing. Ascertaining which buildings are suitable before conversion is vital.