Welcome to CARA Wales, agricultural and rural consultancy and advice. We offer an individual, unbiased and efficient service to help move your business forward.

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Monday, July 21st, 2008

With electricity charges increasing at alarming rates it has never been more important to keep a close eye on your contracts. There are still a significant number of businesses that do not know when their electricity contracts terminate. Many now demand a three month notice period to terminate a contract at the end of its period. Failure to hand in your notice in time results in being locked in with your current supplier for another period at possibly significantly higher charges. Early termination fees will be charged if you leave your provider within a contract. These fees can out way any benefit in cheaper charges offered by another company. The reverse can also be true where another electricity provider can offer deals so much lower that it can mean paying a termination fee available option.


It is recommended that you always shop around for the best deals before your existing contract ends. This invariably means terminating your existing contract. Looking at different electricity contracts and identifying the best deal can be a daunting task. There are many professionals within the market place who will carry out this task for you. This is a burden that we at CARA are more than happy to take off your shoulders.


Many businesses have set up a fixed monthly direct debit. Whilst this makes budgeting easier,  as time goes on the level paid does need to be reviewed. A significant increase in dairy cow numbers for example will result in more units being used and your payments will soon fall into arrears. If you have recently installed/upgraded your milking plant and improved efficiency the reverse is likely to be true and the number of units used reduced.


It is vital that meters are read by your provider or yourselves on a regular basis and the reading passed back to your electricity provider. It is recommended that this is done on a quarterly basis.



                CHECK LISTS

·         When does your contract terminate

·         What are the early termination fees

·         What notice period does your electricity provider require

·         Is your monthly direct debit amount at a sufficient level to cover electricity units used

·         Ensure meters are read at regular intervals



Check your electricity contract today. If you have any queries regarding your electricity contract then contact us at CARA to discuss matters further.



Grass Quality – How & What to Feed

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Grass quality and weather conditions are not aiding milk production at present. Many producers are seeing fairly mature swards, with cows struggling to get intake due to wet weather. It is vital to provided a buffer to cows to enable milk production to be maintained. It is also likely to be of benefit to increase concentrate protein levels also to aid fibre digestion. Maize Gluten or a distillers product fed on top of silage will be of real benefit in maximsing milk production.


Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

The current prices of fertiliser and feed mean that there has never been a better time to take full advantage of grazed grass. Using a rising plate grass meter to assess grass covers gives some science to knowing whether cows appetites are met or not, how much to give the cows, and whether they have grazed the paddock tightly enough.

Rules of thumb are as follows:

Turn cows into a grass cover of around 2,800 – 3,400 kilos of grass dry matter per hectare

Pull cows out of pasture when cover down to 1,500 kilos of grass dry matter per hectare

Aim for a 21 day grazing rotation

With the current daily grass growth rates – upto 100 kilos dry matter per hectare per day – many pastures are getting too strong for grazing. In these circumstances it is worth skipping paddocks, cutting some paddocks for silage or even mowing and grazing some swaths behind an electric fence.

Measuring the grass covers, and recording on a weekly basis can mean an extra 2-3 litres from grass per cow per day. This is equivalent to saving £860 per month on feed costs for a 100 cow herd.

With interest expressed from customers, we are looking at running a grazing and plate meter course for any interested farmers. If you would like more details please contact the office.

Dairy Farm Profits – Are they any better?

Monday, March 17th, 2008

A lot of dairy farmers are unsure as to whether they will actually be better off under the current pricing, allowing for the increases in costs. The main cost increases are seen in the “3 F’s” – Feed, Fertiliser and Fuel. Assuming that the milk price for most has increased by 7-8 pence per litre, returns have increased by an average of £560 per cow.

Costs have increased by £70 per tonne for feed, £150 per tonne for fertiliser and 40% for fuel. The combined effect of these cost increase is around £320 per cow or 4.3 pence per litre. For the average dairy farmer, there should therefore be an extra profit of £240 per cow, or 3.2 pence per litre.

Farming as a business

Monday, March 17th, 2008

A very good article in Farmer’s Guardian regarding the WiRE conference at Harper Adams, reminded me of a few salient points that we should all bare in mind!

  • For business analysis a pen, paper and calculator are all that are required
  • Understanding profit is essential
  • The results of your annual accounts should never be a surprise – you should have an idea what the answer will be
  • Spending more than you take in is not sustainable
  • Improving profit doesn’t mean necessarily working harder – it may mean selling for a better price, or spending less
  • Don’t be afraid of money, or your bank statement