BDK Auditors recently held the feedback session for its 21st annual Fruit Benchmarking Survey at the Houw Hoek Hotel near Grabouw. As usual, the event was well attended by the survey participants as well as other role players in the industry.
The benchmarking survey is an agricultural economic study which identifies the factors that contribute to farm gate profit, while comparing participating farms with one another. The study, which focuses primarily on apple and pear farms in the Grabouw/Vygeboom area, identifies the relative performance of each of the 40+ participating farms against its peers. It then calculates benchmarks for best practice performance.
According to Neville van Buuren, General Manager of Fruit at Oak Valley, the benchmark survey is helpful in assessing where you as a farm stand as one always wants to improve. “It shows that production and quality fruit is important. Also, it’s crucial to keep replanting in order to keep your farm as young as possible.
“We will need to go back and do our homework, study the figures and if we want to stay sustainable, these kinds of figures help us tremendously.”
Charl Koole, Production Manager at Dennegeur says it is definitely a good exercise to be part of. “You can place yourself relative to other farms and see if you are on the right track or not. And it allows you to see if any warning lights are flashing.”
Jonathan Petley, Accountant at Chiltern Farms noted that BDK had done much more effort with the survey this year. “The spectrum of information is wide – for instance with the added information of fruit-size combinations – which does make it more complicated to work through and process so that the figures make sense. But the exercise definitely carries value. It would be helpful if the feedback can happen sooner in the year as it will assist us better with the new season.”
Carl van Lingen, Manager at Monteith says it is an incredible tool to figure out where you are and how you can improve your own farm. “You cannot do without it. You have to have something like this benchmarking exercise to help you improve.”
Thys Blom, CEO of Remhoogte Boerdery has been a participant of the survey for eight years in his current capacity. “In any given timeslot, the decisionmaker or the person giving leadership, must make sure that he rightfully chooses the one or two things that he wants to emphasize, instead of trying to cover everything. In my case, where I must give leadership to a group of managers, the benchmarking tool helps me to emphasize those areas that are really critical.”
Attendees at the BDK Fruit Benchmarking release held on 11 October 2018 at Houw Hoek Hotel, include the following people pictured below (names given from l to r):