Average or ahead of the game?

01 April 2014

Travelling round the region, spirits are generally pretty good, with most arable field operations caught up and the crops looking promising. Of course a lot can change in a critical few hot and or wet weeks in June, July or August but I’m a glass half full man. Certainly the rapidly flowering rape crops and change to British Summertime lift the spirits.

Across the region, the crop picture is one of huge variation. Some crops are still flat to the ground and some rocketing, barley at first nodes and OSR flowering.  Varieties triggered by day length are still in winter mode while those that respond to accumulative temperature are the forward crops.  On average, it is average!  In general, agronomists’ advice is to walk individual crops to assess crop growth stages rather than going by calendar.

Thinking about averages across the whole farm business…while we should all strive to being better than average, neither is being a top 10% performer a reason for complacency.  If the top 10% do not keep striving forward then they will fall behind. In my books, ‘striving forward’ is paying attention to detail and controlling the controllable.

I have seen evidence of this at the recent AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds events, whether it’s looking at your agronomy, reviewing profit levels, or understanding the marketplace. I found it particularly fascinating attending the AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds Meet the Processor Event at Rank Hovis Mill Andover and hearing farmers talking directly with millers about the issues impacting both of them.

Rank Hovis Millers

Talking to growers brings a smile to the faces of Rank Hovis Millers

The discussion on grain quality was particularly revealing – how subtle differences in sample quality affect the ease and efficiency of the milling process. What price is it worth to the miller to be able to consistently mill at peak efficiency and capacity? Healthy communication in the supply chain can only be good for all parties.

There is still opportunity to build on your knowledge of the grain supply chain this spring at AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds meetings with animal feed mills and exporters. The following link will take you to events in our region where you can book up to attend.  /events.aspx

Remember, knowledge is power!



Taunton-based Philip joined AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds from HSBC Agriculture, where he was Senior Agriculture Manager in the South West region. Having studied agriculture at university, Philip spent seven years as a Senior Business Management Consultant with ADAS before developing his career with HSBC. He brings substantial business management experience to the Regional Team, and a detailed understanding of the complexities of the industry in the region.