Efficiency is King - A Panel Discussion at Cereals


An idea was born during the production of our Best in Field Podcast. Early in 2024, we interviewed our award-winning farmers, including Harry Middleditch of D F Middleditch & Son, who won our award for winter oats. We also featured Jeff Claydon, CEO and Founder of Claydon Drills. Both spoke extensively about efficiencies in farming, emphasising techniques, machinery, and production.

Realising the need for a larger platform to delve deeper into these discussions, we hosted the panel discussion ‘Efficiency is King’ at Cereals. Harry, Jeff, and I were joined by Rachel from Hectare and Will from FMEC, for a conversation uniting the worlds of hardware, software, and farming.

Why it Matters

Because, with plateaued yields and volatile input and output prices, efficient arable production has never been more important. Efficiency acts as a safety net and profit driver, helping reduce risks posed by external factors.

We learned that achieving efficiency is not just about getting the most out of what you have, but also optimising production and costs, and embracing a mindset of refinement towards continuous improvement. And, ultimately, all panellists echoed the central role that accurate data has in driving efficient decisions.

The Discussion

Will of FMEC emphasised the importance of real-time data, noting “to get real value, we have to understand data in real-time.” He stressed that while everyone has data, it needs to be connected and integrated to be truly useful.

“Integration is key,” Will said, adding that pioneers like Jeff Claydon have set the stage for this advancement by creating the world’s first combine yield recording tool. Will also highlighted the necessity of embracing new technology to make more informed decisions, pointing out that “we’ve got the data – we just don’t use it.”

Farmer Harry Middleditch shared his perspective on cost management, stating, “it’s not always about cutting costs; it’s about optimising costs.” As a data-driven farmer, he emphasised the critical role of data in making important decisions. “The most important decisions you make should be using data,” Harry asserted, underlining the need for accurate and timely information in farming operations.

Rachel from Hectare discussed how investments in storage solutions have transformed decision-making processes, allowing for more considered actions. She explained that having all relevant data in one place enables farmers to react quickly to market changes without making emotional decisions. “We provide relevant data so farmers can react to the market quickly, with all the information stored in one place,” Rachel noted, highlighting the shift towards data-driven grain trading.

Jeff Claydon expressed the importance of problem identification before seeking solutions. “You can provide a solution once you see a problem. But without identifying the problem, it’s hard to build a solution,” he explained. This insight underscores the need for a thorough understanding of challenges before implementing efficiency measures.

As Head of Product at YAGRO, I discussed our role in supporting arable businesses by saying “we help farmers understand and optimise their farm efficiency and performance by unlocking every pound and tonne of potential within their business. This involves using pre-existing data to build comprehensive crop and field-level pictures, tracking in-season spend, and understanding cost allocation.” I concluded my opening statement by adding the message “know your data and take advantage of it.”

Overall, the session highlighted that efficiency in farming is essential for sustainable and profitable production. By leveraging data and being open to incremental changes, farmers can achieve true optimisation and efficiency.

Efficiency is King. But Data is Key

Efficiency in farming is paramount, but it’s the power of data that truly unlocks potential. At our Cereals panel discussion, it was emphasised how understanding and integrating data is crucial to your overall strategy. 

From comprehensive crop analysis to informed market decisions, data-driven decisions enable farmers to maximise both efficiency and profitability. As Jeff Claydon noted, identifying problems through data is the first step to finding effective solutions. And all parties agreed that only by embracing technology and leveraging existing data can farmers achieve true efficiency and secure their business against external challenges.

Do you believe Efficiency is King?

It’s likely your farm data holds the keys to achieving the goals you have for your farm. Book a demo of our software to see how they can be achieved. 

Edwin is YAGRO's Head of Product and has led product strategy and delivery since May 2019. He takes enormous pride in the Product Team he leads and the work they do. Growing up in The Netherlands, where he lives today with his family, Edwin has held a lifelong fascination with technology – and the catalyst for positive change it can be. He is a driving force behind YAGRO’s innovative offerings. Outside of work, Edwin enjoys being active through sport - particularly football and padel. A keen traveller, he's always planning a trip to new corners of the world.