University helps farmers

27 March 2012

Academics at the School of Management and Business at Aberystwyth University have devised a new function that will help Welsh famers decide how and when to achieve the best prices for their lambs.

This new online calculator, produced by Aberystwyth University for Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC), will help Welsh famers make more informed decisions about their livestock. This has been developed thanks to the research of Dr. Nishikant Mishra, Lecturer in Supply Chain Management (SMB), and the expertise of Wyn Morris, Teaching Fellow in Management at the University. 

Mr Morris explains, “The calculator allows farmers to consider the best time to lamb given their individual circumstances and resources, this could mean a slight change in lambing time may result in a significant change in enterprise profitability and resource efficiency.

“We are now in the process of developing further informed decision making tools for farmers and the whole agri-supply chain. We are thankful to HCC for their collaboration with the project and hope that further collaboration will occur in the future. ”

Dr. Mishra’s research focuses on mathematical modelling, and developing heuristics and algorithms for manufacturing, planning and scheduling problems.  Wyn Morris was a researcher at IBERS before joining SMB and also operates his own farm.  The calculator was the result of world-class research and an in-depth understanding of the farm economy.

“Creep feeding lambs early in the season to target sales and achieve peak lamb prices can be beneficial and economical - provided the increased gain exceeds the costs associated with the system,” said HCC Project Executive Dewi Hughes.

“If lambs are not sold at the correct time, however, creep feeding can prove to be an expensive option. HCC has developed a lamb feed calculator on our website so that sheep farmers can decide if it would be financially viable to creep feed their lambs or not.”

“The price shown on the calculator is based on 2011 lamb prices. Although it does not take into account costs associated with the two systems such as labour, vet and medicine and depreciation on specialist feeding equipment, we believe it will prove to be an extremely useful new tool for sheep farmers,” said Mr Hughes.

The calculator was produced by the School of Management and Business for HCC through funding received from the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007 - 2013. The calculator can be found at HCC’s website: