Apple businesses benchmark recent harvest performance

Charlie Kilpatrick CAFRE  (Seated  centre) with growers. Back row: James Campbell, Noel McAlister, John Montgomery, Stephen Kane, Edmund Allen and Herbie Sullivan. Front row:  David Johnston, Frank Donnelly, Dermot Morgan, Colin Rea, John Beggs.
Charlie Kilpatrick CAFRE (Seated centre) with growers. Back row: James Campbell, Noel McAlister, John Montgomery, Stephen Kane, Edmund Allen and Herbie Sullivan. Front row: David Johnston, Frank Donnelly, Dermot Morgan, Colin Rea, John Beggs.

At a recent meeting of apple growers, held at AFBI Loughgall, Charlie Kilpatrick from CAFRE delivered a presentation on the costs of production to growers for the 2013 and 2014 harvests.

The results from the 2014 harvest indicate a massive variation in profitability between growers due to efficiency/yield differences, with the best in class fruit growers generally obtaining better yields from similar age of orchards. Orchard age and efficient agronomy were also identified as key yield drivers.

Benchmarking is the first step in producing a management account that will show a complete breakdown of the costs of production. In turn this is an extremely beneficial exercise for business when planning ahead for example when making the decision to invest in planting new orchards.

CAFRE’s top fruit benchmarking programme is a computerised farm management accounting system that offers growers the opportunity to record their production costs and output and compare their results with other similar farms.

If you are interested in benchmarking your apple business, further information is available from Charlie Kilpatrick at CAFRE, Greenmount Campus (tel; 028 9442 6854) or Graeme Cross CAFRE Top Fruit Adviser, Armagh (tel; 028 3752 9051).