Module: Farm Business and Enterprise Management

Module details

  • Module code

  • Module leader

    Rita Walsh
  • Module Level

  • Module credits

  • Min study time

    150 hours
  • Contact hrs

    30 hours
  • Teaching Period

    Semester 2

Module content

Understanding and interpreting business objectives within the context facing farm managers; resource appraisal; Basic Payment Scheme and agri-environmental stewardship; farm enterprise output and key markets, variable and fixed (overhead) costs; whole farm comparative analysis; identification of strengths and weaknesses of a business.

Farm management planning: selection of enterprise mix; labour and machinery planning; the planning process.

Financial budgeting; sensitivity analysis; understanding and interpreting financial statements, including balance sheets, profit and loss and cash flows.

Business structures, raising finance and pension planning.

Principles of marketing, market research and assessment of feasibility.

Module outcomes

To achieve credit for this module, students must be able to:

  1. Assess the related earning capacity of a farm using recognized techniques including enterprise gross margins, fixed costs, trading profit and loss budgets and cash flow forecasts
  2. Appraise the financial performance of a farm business using management and tax accounts, and create an effective business plan with budgets for financial performance and cash flow forecasts
  3. Identify and critically evaluate the factors that affect the financial performance and viability of non-agricultural rural enterprises
  4. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of different business structures that can be used in farm and rural businesses
  5. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the principles of marketing and create a marketing strategy for rural properties and businesses


Assessment Description Weighting
Coursework 1 x professional report 50%
Examination 1 x 3 hour unseen exam 50%

Key texts

Farm Business Management

  • Nix, J.S. (Annual publication released in October) Farm management pocketbook. Agro Business Consultants
  • DEFRA (2004) Getting started in farm management accounting: part 1: using the farm accounts to point the way.  (PB; 8916A).  Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • DEFRA (2004) Getting started in farm management accounting: part 2: mapping out a farming future.  (PB; 8916B).  Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Barnard, C.S. and Nix, J.S. (1980) Farm Planning & Control. 2nd Ed. Cambridge University Press
  • Turner, J. and Taylor, M. (1998) Applied farm management. 2nd ed. Blackwell Science (Note: This edition is now out of print but a number of copies are available in the library)
  • Warren, M. (1998) Financial management for farmers and rural managers. 4th ed. Blackwell Science.

Financial and Management Accounting

  • Weetman, P. (2011) Financial and Management Accounting. 5th ed. Financial Times Press – Prentice Hall


  • Blythe, J. (2012) Essentials of marketing. 5th ed. Pearson Education Ltd Finance