KISSing at Cereals (Keep It Simple, Stupid!)

17 June 2015

Well, that’s Cereals done for another year. As usual, it was a fine showcase of anything and everything associated with growing crops. One of the important aspects, though, is the opportunity to network, make new contacts and get new perspective. One thing that struck me, for all the millions of pounds of fixed assets on show, and all the technical brains available, were the basic levels of some arable strategies.

Arches And Cover Crop Mix (small)

Cereals 2015 (c)AHDB

The old adage ‘Keep It Simple, Silly’ (KISS) was an underlying principle of many of the conversations I had. Extended rotations, spring cropping, cover crops, even fallow and rogueing blackgrass were regular topics – and nothing new! Co-operation and marketing were two more key themes.  Many of these were key characteristics of those I spoke to, who seemed to be weathering the current lower commodity prices better.

As I write this, I am now in the middle of our Monitor Farm summer open days. These meetings focus on reviewing what we have achieved over the first year and looking forward to projects for the next. Without being too modest, it is great to hear some of the stories coming out of the project where attendance at the meetings has brought about real change. There are links on our website to all the Monitor Farms, reports of previous meetings and forthcoming dates.

It is clear that subsidies will reduce in the future. This will make life painful for some businesses but offer opportunities for others. We will need more co-operation and a more strategic approach to business planning. I remain confident however that we have an industry, and, more importantly, a population of dynamic, progressive agri-business people (as opposed to ‘just farmers’) to take UK agriculture, and specifically the cereals and oilseeds sector, forward to the future. It will mean change but that need not be complicated – as I started this piece by pointing out, sometimes a simple KISS is enough!



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.