I got a little worked up last week when I saw a tweet that read “Cost of production matters in 2015 –
The Western Producer” and included a link to the article. Even though that wasn’t the article’s title, I still
had to sit down and scribe this.
Let me be very clear: cost of production matters every year. Period.
Cost of Production is the most basic principle that must be employed when making marketing decisions.
If you don’t have a clear understanding of your COP, then you are putting the survival of your business
at grave risk. Why? Because how would you know if you’re selling for a profit or not?
The WP article states, “A 38 bu. (canola) crop and a $9.45 price could yield $70 per acre before labour
and equipment costs.” That’s nice, but why would we not include our labor and equipment costs? Will
the crop magically seed and harvest itself?
COP only begins with your seed, chemical and fertilizer costs. It must also include all other operating
costs AND your fixed costs.
Now work back from your actual, or projected, yield and we come to the real figure that matters: unit
cost of production.
If you know that it costs your farm $6 to grow a bushel of canola, isn’t a $9/bu selling price a nice
target? By the way, that’s 50% ROI.
What was your gross margin per acre in 2014?
Do you include your fixed costs when working out Cost of Production calculations? If no, why not?
How do you know what is a profitable selling price for your crop if you don’t know what it cost you to
Do you discover whether or not you’re profitable only when you receive the accountant prepared
From the Home Quarter
In the simple calculation of “Revenue – Costs = Profit,” how can we be expected to make profitable
decisions without intimately knowing our costs? Every business that produces anything, from ocean
freighters to widgets, knows exactly what it costs to produce one item. Why doesn’t every farm know
their costs the same way?
As a special offer to the readers of this blog, I will conduct a Farm Financial
Review™ for up to 5 qualifying farm businesses at $475 (normally a $875 value.) This will include a
review of your 2014 financial results and a Cost of Production Analysis. Work must be booked by the end
of January and completed by the end of February. Please call or email for details.