Quantifying the value of on-farm measurements to inform the selection of key performance indicators for livestock production systems

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Jones, A. G., Takahashi, T., Fleming, H., Griffith, B. A., Harris, P. and Lee, M. R. F. 2021. Quantifying the value of on-farm measurements to inform the selection of key performance indicators for livestock production systems. Scientific Reports. 11 (1), p. 16874. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-96336-1

AuthorsJones, A. G., Takahashi, T., Fleming, H., Griffith, B. A., Harris, P. and Lee, M. R. F.
Abstract

The use of key performance indicators (KPIs) to assist on-farm decision making has long been seen as a promising strategy to improve operational efficiency of agriculture. The potential benefit of KPIs, however, is heavily dependent on the economic relevance of the metrics used, and an overabundance of ambiguously defined KPIs in the livestock industry has disincentivised many farmers to collect information beyond a minimum requirement. Using high-resolution sheep production data from the North Wyke Farm Platform, a system-scale grazing trial in southwest United Kingdom, this paper proposes a novel framework to quantify the information values of industry recommended KPIs, with the ultimate aim of compiling a list of variables to measure and not to measure. The results demonstrated a substantial financial benefit associated with a careful selection of metrics, with top-ranked variables exhibiting up to 3.5 times the information value of those randomly chosen. When individual metrics were used in isolation, ewe weight at lambing had the greatest ability to predict the subsequent lamb value at slaughter, surpassing all mid-season measures representing the lamb's own performance. When information from multiple metrics was combined to inform on-farm decisions, the peak benefit was observed under four metrics, with inclusion of variables beyond this point shown to be detrimental to farm profitability regardless of the combination selected. The framework developed herein is readily extendable to other livestock species, and with minimal modifications to arable and mixed agriculture as well.

Year of Publication2021
JournalScientific Reports
Journal citation11 (1), p. 16874
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-96336-1
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board
Funder project or codeS2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 2 (WP2) - Adaptive management systems for improved efficiency and nutritional quality
The North Wyke Farm Platform- National Capability [2017-22]
System-wide evaluation of pasture-based sheep production: impact and value
Publisher's version
Copyright license
CC BY 4.0
Accepted author manuscript
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online19 Aug 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted09 Aug 2021
PublisherNature Publishing Group
ISSN2045-2322

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