Addressing rising costs in goat farming

“The increase in commodities that began in June 2020 intensified in 2021, before reaching a peak from March 2022, recalled Géraldine Verdier, facilitator of Brilac, in the introduction of the partner day organized at the beginning of July at a distance. Between health, climate and geopolitical chaos and a well-oriented global demand for several years according to FAO and the OECD, the World Bank is forecasting high prices until 2024. Mickaël Lamy, president of Brilac, underlined the consequences of this economic context, which is significant for farms and penalizing for installation projects. “We need to give visibility to project leaders and every link in the industry must provide them with the best possible support. “

“Supporting young people and future residents is a major challenge for our industry. We have to give them visibility “

“In the short term, the farmers most affected by the rise in food prices can benefit from the resilience plan put in place by the government, relaunched by the increase in the price of milk, introduced Nicole Bossis of the Livestock Institute. It is more essential than ever to establish a cash flow forecast and, for everyone, to continue to optimize and improve the remuneration per 1000 liters to gain solidity. Food self-sufficiency, the availability of land, the production of quality fodder… are the great challenges for the sector. “

Manage your herd with precision

“Whether in terms of herd management, feed, forage quality or even feeding autonomy, it is possible to activate various technical levers to reduce the impact of the increase in costs”, recalled Romain Lesne, from Ardepal (regional association for the development of small animal farms in Limousin). The goal is to distribute the right quantities of feed and optimize its use by the animals. Therefore, having one or more homogeneous batches (weight of the goats, production of goats) and a rigorous and regular management of the slaughter (unproductive goats, reproductive failures, etc.) allows to adequately adapt the integration to the production and to make it evolve the course of the time of breastfeeding. Be careful not to forget to recalculate the contributions every time the size of the lots changes. It is necessary to regularly check the consistency between the planned quantity of concentrate and the quantities actually dispensed, weigh the foods and calibrate the dispensing tools.

Trust your forage

In terms of the quality of the food distributed, it is very useful to analyze its forage, as long as you trust its values ​​and the ability of the goats to value them. Here we find various levers proposed in Cap’Protéines (a project that aims to increase the protein autonomy of ruminant farms and territories). The goal is to reap the value of food rather than produce by planting, for example, multi-species lawns with good proportions of legumes (better longevity, fewer inputs, more nutritional values, etc.), or by producing cereals, meslin grain …

If the land does not allow for the production of fodder, Romain Lesne advises to aim for the purchase of quality fodder rather than concentrates and to use raw materials, co-products (drash, pulp, etc.).

From a logistical point of view, a correct conservation of the forage based on its quality and its identification facilitates its distribution at the right time (eg: best forage for goats at the beginning of lactation).

Manage a tight cash flow

“For the management of the agricultural fund, prevention is essential, both during the installation phase and during the investments, recalled Sandrine Buttner of the Brittany Chamber of Agriculture. Various instruments can be activated: deferred loans, self-financing, adjustment of the cash lines in relation to the working capital requirement. On this last point we must start from a month of turnover. “

The consultant also insists on not neglecting insurance. Being uninsured or underinsured can take a toll on your cash flow, for example in the event of a replacement.
For established companies, it is necessary to determine whether the cash flow difficulties are temporary or structural. “In the event of tensions linked to a danger or to the economic situation, we recommend avoiding self-financing and, if already done, studying the possibilities of post-financing. It is important to take the time to take stock of the cash support (overdraft authorization, short term). You can also activate the modulation of the loan duration, take a loan break with reports at the end of the table … “

Structural tensions can have several causes: lack of economic profitability, unplanned or financed investments for too short a period, private taxes disconnected from profitability … So do not hesitate to seek support to analyze the profitability of your operation, determine the ability to repay, restructure bank credits and distribute debts… A contact from the Agir network is available in each department to support breeders in difficulty and seek technical and economic solutions.

New benchmarks for structures

As all commodities increased, the investment required to open a shop increased dramatically. Is it still possible to set up a workshop in these conditions? “The technical objectives to be achieved to repay seem excessive for a project that involves the construction of a new building, reported Amélie Villette of the Chamber of Agriculture of the Dordogne. It would take € 2,000 / goat, or € 760,000 for a project of 360 goats with two UMOs, taking into account current costs. “ The design and price benchmark of goat buildings produced by the agricultural chambers of Charente-Maritime and Deux-Sèvres was updated in June 2022 and allows you to evaluate the cost of your project.
Even if an extension of the loans is observed and the recovery costs are much lower, future farmers will have to make choices in their investments!

Reduce your investment costs

To support project promoters, there are various financing and guarantee solutions: bank pool, equity financing, assumption of part of the capital by the transferor, capital injection by the investor, search for facilities (regions, etc.), leasing of real estate.
Developing dairy and suckler cow sheds or even a chicken coop or pigsty can reduce costs, as long as you think carefully about the layout, especially ventilation.

Option for a second hand milking installation is also an option. “But the buyer has to ask the seller for the latest Opti’traite inspection and compare it with the price of the new one, warned Vincent Moinet of the Deux-Sèvres Chamber of Agriculture. The final cost should not exceed half of the new! Also pay attention to the parts to be replaced and avoid installations that have not worked for several years or whose brand does not have a nearby dealer. “

Virginie Hervé-Quartier

Widening of the gaps between farms

Technical performance explains most of the differences of the results between farms explained Arnaud Mouillet of CER France Poitou-Charente and Nicole Bossis of the Livestock Institute during the day of the Brilac partners.

“In 2021, in the face of this surge in prices, goat systems remained stable compared to 2020, with stable numbers, volume of milk produced and UMO, explained Arnaud Mouillet of CER France Poitou-Charentes from accounting closures 2021 during the partner day organized by Brilac. The price of milk has increased by 29 euros per 1,000 liters (from 718 to 747 euros / 1,000 liters) and the cost of concentrates, already on the rise, has gone from 316 to 345 euros per 1,000 liters in a year. In the end, by combining all the systems, we have an increase in the result per UMO operator, to 41,500 euros compared to 30,200 euros in 2020 ”.

“Pay attention to the averages, however, he warns, they hide considerable differences between the extremes, differences that are getting wider and wider. They are mainly explained by the technical performance (product per goat and cost of food per 1,000 liters), the intensity of the work, the potential of the land and the cultivated areas. “ Even in specialized systems, crops had a big impact in 2021 “.

From 0 to 91,000 € / UMO operator

In detail, for specialized goat systems (≥ 70% of goat products, 2.6 UMO, 0.8 employees, 470 goats, 410,000 L, 90 ha of UAA), the difference is 70,000 L of milk per UMO and 50,000 liters of milk per goat. In the end, the result per UMO operator is on average 35,000 euros, with a variation from 0 to 91,000 euros / UMO operator.¶

“As for farmers, the current average result for 2021 is estimated at 28,900 euros per UMO, explained Nicole Bossis, of the Livestock Institute’s department of agricultural economics. It varies from 16,600 to 32,800 euros. The evaluation of the milk fluctuates between 2.3 and 4.2 euros per liter. Labor productivity is between 18 and 30,000 liters of milk processed by UMO. “

“For agricultural producers, the factors that make the income are the evaluation of the liter of milk and the productivity of the work. We need to find the right size between liters of processed milk, recovery and labor. “ By 2022, both agricultural producers and suppliers will have to deal with rising costs of food, processing (energy) and marketing (packaging, diesel, etc.) and also, depending on the sector, sometimes difficult sales. local level (companies, markets, producers’ shops, etc.). There seem to be fewer regional and national concerns (supermarkets, dairies, etc.).

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