THE CHANGING FACE OF GRAIN MARKETING IN THE UK
The concept of ‘marketing’ grain in the UK is a relatively new one; many farmers have seen grain selling as part of farming that has to be done, but as the reality sets in that market volatility is here to stay, many farmers are looking to upskill. As markets become increasingly transparent, both domestically and globally, independent grain market advisors, CRM AgriCommodities, is finding that farmers are increasingly open to adopting more pro-active marketing strategies, scrutinising the origin, accuracy and independence of the information upon which they base their decisions, and investing in independent advice and intelligence.
CRM AgriCommodities’ co-founder, James Bolesworth, says: “As markets become increasingly volatile and transparent, farmers are looking to dynamically market their grain and manage the volatility. Ultimately more money is made by proactively selling the crop, not just the decisions that are made to control seed, fertiliser, chemical and overhead spend.”
UK farmers are now starting to follow farmers from around the world in countries such as the US, Australia and Europe where independent marketing advice has been part of the farming culture for decades and as much emphasis is placed on marketing the crop as it is growing it. Following a recent visit to Ukraine, James Bolesworth commented: “I was surprised at the high level of technical and market knowledge held by a region which, until last year, didn’t even have a wheat futures contract”.
Emphasis is being placed on the importance of having a strategy and a marketing plan that accounts for market opinion, seasonality, basis opportunities, target prices and a box of tools that can be used in different situations. Ben Bodart says: “Timing is also important, as well as appreciating that the cash flow and storage of each farm business in order to avoid selling under pressure, rather than when an opportunity is seen.”
Amongst the farming enterprises adopting CRM Agri-Commodities’ independent approach to grain marketing is JSR Farms Ltd, a 10,000 acre farming enterprise near Driffield, Yorkshire and one of the largest farming operations in the UK. Director Tim Rymer said: “CRM Agri have provided a flexible training solution for our business, tailoring a course that has educated our team in all aspects of grain marketing and resulting in a business that is better equipped to adopt and identify strategic opportunities while also reacting more effectively to market unpredictability.”
CRM AgriCommodities offer a range of services and tools to equip farmers with the skillset to manage grain market volatility. These include training programmes nationwide, daily and weekly market reports, bespoke grain marketing strategies and advisory services, and joint marketing groups for farmers, advisors, consumers and multinationals throughout the UK, Europe and the Black Sea. The results are clear, with a rapidly growing business and new marketing groups opening on a monthly basis.
CRM AgriCommodities’ strategies have continually beaten market averages, whilst managing risk and price volatility remains at the core of every decision. James Bolesworth says: “Over the past three years CRM Agri has beaten the wheat market average by £10/T and OSR by £18/T despite lower volatility than has been seen in the past - for a farmer selling 1000T of wheat and 300T of OSR this is an additional £15,400 in the bank each year compared to traditional tracker pools and many other marketing programmes in the UK.” With a growing number of farmers looking for independent sources of grain market advice, CRM Agri are soon to launch Grainsight, a fully managed grain marketing service that will allow farmers to achieve these consistently strong results with a fully independent party marketing grain on their behalf and adding value back to the industry at a time when it is needed most.