The ‘Farm Business Data 2017’ farm planning handbook has recently been published by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland.

In 2017, the agricultural industry and individual farm businesses will continue to face challenges created by relatively high input costs and volatile farm-gate prices, DAERA said.

The department believes that the availability of a sound, robust framework for farm planning decisions is of “paramount importance“.

The ‘Farm Business Data’ handbook aims to provide a “comprehensive and authoritative” source of physical and financial information, tailored to farm planning needs in Northern Ireland.

It is divided into sections and presents budgets for all the enterprises commonly found in Northern Ireland.

It is hoped that the handbook will be a valuable source of information for farmers, their professional advisors, those undertaking formal training in agriculture or anyone who requires planning and budgetary data relating to farming in Northern Ireland.

Budgets for all the crop and livestock enterprises commonly found in Northern Ireland are also presented in the handbook.

It also includes a section on the details of a variety of farm support schemes as well as the operation of selected schemes such as the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).

A range of useful information in the ‘miscellaneous’ section incorporates a summary of nitrates and phosphorous regulations, according to the department.

Details on taxation, fixed costs, machinery costs, hire charges, contractors’ charges, conacre rents and key DAERA contact points are also included in the handbook.

The handbook is designed to facilitate farm planning exercises. As such, the data presented in the enterprise budgets is in ‘normalised’ gross margin format and is unsuitable for benchmarking or comparison purposes, according to DAERA.

Uncertainties surrounding future prices mean that users of the data are advised to make appropriate adjustments when figures presented in the handbook become out of date or are felt to be inappropriate for long-term planning.

The ‘Farm Business Data 2017’ farm planning handbook is available on the DAERA website.