Dr. Helen Ferrier – 6 – 12 years outlook

A woman at a presentation screen - Helen Ferrier Horizon Scanning
Helen Ferrier of the NFU

Observations from the NFU policy unit perspective:

Farming production has different decision making cycles;

Thinking is for as long for as people will be farmers….

eg. Arable has 5-6 year rotations of cereals or veg. In livestock the breeding cycles for herds may be long; shorter for poultry 72 weeks for a laying hen. Annual cycles around protected cropping.

How do we represent that huge variation? Vast majority of farmers cannot plan for 6-12 years. Brett has accelerated some changes and leads to uncertainty. Farmers instead get heads down and work on what needs to be done this year.

Scale can help; big businesses lead to longer term thinking and some farmers thinking of innovation.

Succession is an issue. Who will continue the farm? Legacy.

Shifting land use / diversification helps to spread the risk, investing in new kit.

NFU survey asks farmers about confidence. Current 3-year outlook has noticed negative impact on confidence.

Tech people are looking at farming and opportunities for new applications in farming; understanding soils (moisture alerts, etc.) or understanding what is happening with condition of your livestock. Market revenue for agri robots with rise hugely, not just in crop sector but milking and husbandry.

Labour saving potential of robotics will be significant. This may have impact in women in farming; change the perception of farming.

Data sets and how these can be used / analysed to help farmers make decisions. Other areas becoming challenging will be crop protection. More integrated approach – bio-stimulants and crop control. Integrated approach to these issues.

Consolidation is happening. Acing population f farmers. Shift away from support to creation of new markets for goods and services.

Volatility  must be managed. Financial risk management tools / insurance models to smooth out the volatility.

Data will enable greater transparity in the future.

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