Agricultural focus group highlights benefits of benchmarking

Benchmarking table
Ruth MacDonald, Scottish Rural Network Support Unit

A new agricultural EIP-AGRI Focus Group on benchmarking draws attention to the benefits and makes a number of recommendations for improvements.

Benchmarking is finding out how you are doing compared to other similar businesses and using this information to improve. For farmers this can include comparing data on feed costs, herd health, crop yields and so on.

EIP-AGRI is the European Innovation Partnerships in agriculture and forestry. According to the report from their Focus Group on the theme, benchmarking is an "effective and efficient approach to bring about improvements because it involves imitation and adaptation rather than pure research or invention which would then require experimentation and testing".  Across the European Union benchmarking is widely used in the diary, pig, poultry and arable sectors but small farms and those in the horticulture, mixed framing are lagging behind.

While farmers are making use of technology such as sensors and satellites to collect data, the report highlights the need for the data from these to better integrated. It calls for action to increase inter-operability and reduce the need for farmers to enter data more than once. It also stresses the need to introduce small farms to basic benchmarking to help them improve their performance.

Read the full Focus Group report on the EIP-AGRI website.

For more EU agricultural innovation news see the EIP-AGRI newsletter.

Two-day workshop on data sharing

The European Commission is organising a two-day EIP-AGRI workshop on the theme ‘Data Sharing: ensuring a fair sharing of digitisation benefits in agriculture’. It will take place on 4-5 April 2017 in Bratislava, Slovakia, and they are looking for participants. Do you have relevant experience and/or ideas exploring models for data sharing? Call for participants is open till 22 January 2017 at 23:59.