Calculate your costs per field and crop type for farm analysis and benchmarking

Calculate your costs per field and crop type for farm analysis and benchmarking

Farm performance analysis and benchmarking are key to improving your farm’s productivity and profitability. Over half of UK farmers say that they do some sort of farm benchmarking, and most say that this improved their business’s profitability.

In this blog we will look at how you can take the data you have recorded in fieldmargin and use it to work out your costings. You can use this information to identify areas where you could cut costs and improve productivity. For example by:

This will use our report export tool and a bit of Excel (or similar spreadsheet software) wizardry. You will also need to have information about your input costs handy.

We will cover 5 key things:

✅ Calculating the amount spent on each input and upcoming costs

✅ Calculating the amount of inputs used per field

✅ Calculating input costs per field or crop

✅ Calculating spend by input type

✅ Calculating per ha costs to use in benchmarking or gross margins

Start with the right data

The first step to analysing for performance is collecting the right data. With fieldmargin it’s easy to plan and record farm work using Field Jobs. The inputs (such as manure, sprays or fertilizer) that you record on field jobs are tracked in handy summaries. This can save you hours of admin finding work records or printing job sheets. You can find more about how to use Field Jobs and Inputs in our guide here.

Calculate input costs

Farm input summary calculates the total amount of each input used on your farm for the year. You can filter this by complete or incomplete jobs to see what you have applied and what is coming up.

Once you have entered your planned work for the season you can use this to estimate your spending.

  • Using the web app on your computer go to the reporting tab and click on the ‘Export CSV’ button
  • This will produce a CSV file which you can open in any spreadsheet software like Excel or Google Sheets
  • Add a column called ‘Cost’ to the right of input total and enter your unit cost for each input you are using. For example if you measure Roundup use in litres enter the price per litre not for a 5l can. 
  • Add another column called ‘Total cost’ with the formula multiplying your input total and cost columns. This will look something like =C7*E7

You could use a similar method in reverse to calculate your unit costs if you know the total spent on an input.

Calculate inputs used per field

You can check inputs used per field by going to the inputs tab on field view.

However, if you want to compare across fields at the same time you can do this using Field Job export and a pivot table.

Step-by-Step instructions

  1. Using the web app on your computer go to the reporting tab and click the ‘Export all field jobs’ button.
  2. This will produce a CSV file which you can open in any spreadsheet software like Excel or Google Sheets. Where there are multiple fields or inputs on a field job these are split into separate rows.
  3. Select all the cells with data in them from row 6 down (this is where the column headers are) and click Insert > Pivot Table.
  4. Confirm the range and click ‘OK’.
  5. Now we need to set up our Pivot Table. Select ‘Field’ for columns, ‘Input’ for rows and ‘Total’ for values.

You should end up with something that looks like this:

Calculate costs per field

This step requires more Excel skill but can completed in 10 minutes if you have your input costs ready.

This is a great thing to do at the end of season when you want to compare costs for your fields or crops. Or before you start work if you want to estimate production costs.

Watch how below:

Step-by-Step instructions

  1. Using the web app on your computer go to the reporting tab and click the ‘Export all field jobs’ button.
  2. This will produce a CSV file which you can open in any spreadsheet software like Excel or Google Sheets.
  3. Add a sheet with the unit cost for each input. This will be a list of all inputs used on the farm with the unit cost (e.g. for one litre) in the column next to it.
  4. Work out the cost per application for the jobs on your report. To do this we will be using a “VLOOKUP” formula. This allows you to specify a value (E.g. ‘Apples’) to search for, and return the value from a column in the row where it appears.
  5. Add a column next to Total on your Field Job Spreadsheet called ‘Application cost’.
  6. In the formula bar type =VLOOKUP()
  7. Inside the brackets enter the cell number of the value you want to look up, followed by a comma.This will be the one with the input name for that row, so you have something like =VLOOKUP(J7,)
  8. Enter the table array you want to search (the table where you have your inputs and costs), followed by a comma. So you have something like =VLOOKUP(J7, InputCosts!$A$1:$B$27,). Note the dollar signs before the letter and numbers – those are important when you copy it to the other cells.
  9. Say what column in that table the value you want (the input cost) can be found followed by a comma and FALSE. So you have something like =VLOOKUP(J7, InputCosts!$A$1:$B$27,2, FALSE)
  10. Now you have the input cost, multiply it by the the amount of input used on that job (the value in the total column). So you have something like =VLOOKUP(J7, InputCosts!$A$1:$B$27,2, FALSE)*N7.
  11. Select the bottom right corner of the cell and drag down to apply it to all the rows in your table.
  12. Finally, get your cost per field. This is similar to what we did for inputs used per field.
  13. Select everything from row 6 down.
  14. Put it in a Pivot Table and put ‘Field’ as the Columns, ‘Input’ as the Rows, and ‘Application cost’ as the Values (make sure this is set to display sum).

Calculate Cost per Crop

  1. Follow the above instructions to Step 13
  2. When you add your pivot table put ‘Field Use’ as the Columns, ‘Input’ as the Rows, and ‘Application cost’ as the Values (make sure this is set to display sum).

Calculate Fertilizer, Seed and Spray spending

  1. Follow the instructions as above
  2. When you add your pivot table put ‘Field Use’ as the Columns, ‘Input Type’ as the Rows, and ‘Application cost’ as the Values (make sure this is set to display sum).

Calculate per Hectare costs

Using the calculations we just did you can calculate your per hectare costs by input type for each crop or for your whole farm. This is key as this is one of the most common benchmarking metrics used to compare farm performance.

To do this you will need to know the area that you grew of each crop (this can easily be checked using the fields list)

Then all you need to do to get your cost per hectare is add a “cost/ha” column next to each of your crop columns. Divide the sum of application cost by the area of crop grown.

Farm report download is available on our Plus and Pro plans. You can find out more about these on our pricing page here.

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