Industry sector:

Organic farm: Estimating sales

When you are making an estimate of your sales income, take into account:

  • the price you will receive for all of the produce you will sell. Bear in mind that if you sell some of your produce to wholesalers and some direct to the public, you are likely to receive considerably different prices. When you make estimates of income for a whole year, if possible try to use monthly or weekly prices from previous years rather than just the annual average. This will give you an idea of the level of seasonal price fluctuation that you may expect and will give you a good idea about the best times of the year to market your produce. (When it comes to estimating your income, monthly and weekly prices will be most relevant where your farm is producing a commodity on a regular basis, for example eggs or milk. With other commodities, such as cereal crops, the production cycle is several months long and runs along established seasonal patterns. Although there may be opportunities to store crops until prices improve, you'll often find yourself at the mercy of the market. Similarly with livestock finishing, this will often take up to two years and may be very difficult to predict in advance what price you'll receive.) Agriculture departments such as Defra and organic control bodies like the Soil Association should be able to give you detailed historical producer price data for various commodities
  • the quantities that you will be selling - how many animals each year, how many tonnes of vegetables, cereals and so on
  • any other income from sources other than the sale of organic produce - for example farm tourism

Also consider such things as:

  • your own experience (or lack of it)
  • unexpected levels of mortality amongst your animals
  • lower than anticipated crop yields

Cash or cheque

Although some customers may pay you in cash, particularly if they are buying in small quantities, many will prefer to use a cheque, a credit or debit card. Your trade customers will probably pay by cheque.