Producers organizations select first representative samples of beef finisher farms which finish bulls and heifers of the Charolais, Limousine and Blonde d’Acquitaine breeds. Each trimester for each batch of animals that are finished on the farms the following costs are collected: purchase costs at arrival and sales value of finished bulls and heifers, average live weight at arrival and at  leave, feed costs, veterinary and medicine costs and energy costs and coupled CAP premia. Each year fixed costs are collected concerning labour costs,   depreciation and interest costs on building and equipment and miscellaneous fixed costs.  These fixed costs are attributed to the single costs of the batches of animals. Each trimester the full production costs of Charolais, Limousine and Blonde d’Acquitaine are calculated by CRPA based on the average production costs of groups of batches of bulls and heifers finished on different farms. 

The original data are uploaded with a dedicated software developed by ISMEA and CRPA.  ISMEA publishes each trimester the full production costs of beef by breed (Charolais, Limousine and Blonde d’Acquitaine) on the website. The trimester data on production costs function as benchmarks for all beef finisher farms in Italy that are involved in finishing bulls and heifers on these broadly used beef cattle breeds in Next to economic data information is provided of feed conversion rates (FCR) and average daily gain (ADG). To facilitate benchmarking subgroups have been created for small and large farms.

On-farm challenge this Good Practice responds to - For several years CRPA calculated average production costs of beef cattle farms and published the results in lealflets to the farmers. Beef cattle farms did not dispose of a benchmarking tool to compare the profitability of the single batches of bulls and heifers by breed. 

This methodology has been developed and tested over one year on a farm with 4,000 animals. Beef finisher farmers using this method have the opportunity to compare the technical and economic results of each batch of bulls and heifers that are finished on their farms. The comparison takes place with batches of the same breed, but finished on different farms that are part of a representative sample. 

The main challenge was to train the technicians of the beef cattle farmers organizations in collecting the variable costs and technical performances by batch and by breed. Moreover, training was needed to inform the technicians about the way of collecting the fixed costs on the farms. Then, a dedicated software was developed with which the technicians can upload their data.

A success factor is the request of the three beef cattle farmers organisations to continue with the benchmarking tool, as their members are making fruitful use of the provided benchmark information. For countries with specialised beef finisher farms the system may be adopted using the same methodology. 

This method has a positive impact across Socioeconomic Resilience and Production Efficiency & Meat Quality:

  1. Socioeconomic Resilience - The trimestrial economic and technical benchmark system allows for a reduction of production costs and an improvement of technical performances, as farms are able to identify their strong and weak points by comparing batch by batch the results with the benckmarks
  2. Production Efficiency & Meat Quality - Feed conversion rate and average daily growth as well as labour productivity can be improved by means of the benchmarking exercise


Literary Source: Government Report - ISMEA