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Data is the Future for Farm Planning, Says Industry Expert

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Data can help farms and other rural businesses remain resilient and profitable in the face of change.

In his 2020 NatWest Cymru Economic Report for Agriculture in Wales, Roddy McLean, NatWest’s Head of Agriculture, urges farmers to start to think differently about the resource of the farm.

It’s important to embrace tech, he says, and take advantage of many of the apps available to help with planning, to analyse the data collected and to use it to inform decisions.

Despite uncertainty surrounding Brexit, trade agreements and future farm support, as well as  climate change, there is also plenty of opportunity, said Roddy. Now is an opportune time to redefine the what, the why and the how of your whole business.

He suggested undertaking a ‘business health check’, looking at what you’re trying to achieve with your business, defining your strategy and analysing the resources available to you.

“If I were to give you your farm today with no strings attached, no tying requirements, nor restrictions – in other words you have a blank canvas, blue sky thinking and no sacred cows –  how would you farm? Is it as you farm it now?” said Roddy.

“How would you use all your assets optimally, to best generate a return on your investment financially and for your own wellness.

“Putting it another way if you were considering buying a farm or going for a tenancy, what would you do? I’d suggest you critically visit the farm and work out the best farming system to suit all the resources and the returns it would produce.”

  • The 2020 NatWest Cymru Economic Report for Agriculture in Wales was one of the featured events of the Virtual Royal Welsh Show. Watch Roddy’s report, followed by a Q&A, here…