Looking forward in the South

November 2013

My first months as AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds’ Regional Manager for the South have been spent seeking to understand the issues from farmer to end user, and how the AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds can help. Not surprisingly, this has brought some surprises, provided some challenges, but most importantly created some real opportunities.

It is clear to me that the AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds is an absolute treasure trove of knowledge and expertise that can be used much more by the industry. The challenge is for me to impart this on a regional level in a practical and effective manner. Hence there is a tremendous opportunity and this extends to the processing and end user levels in the supply chain.

I am starting my job, and arable farmers are starting another harvest year in much better heart compared to 12 months ago. The crops are generally looking in good shape. Some may be considered too forward but as one farmer said to me recently, “I can manage a good crop down rather than a poor or non-existent one up.” Of course there are challenges and on-going issues such as weather, market volatility and farm rents, but what better way of tackling these than from a position of knowledge gained from AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds and experience gained from fellow farmers?

I look forward to seeing you at some regional events and will report on these in future blogs. I am about to attend the National Farm Management Conference in London, and numerous NFU county AGMs with some high profile speakers such as Peter Kendall and Christine Tacon.

There are several interesting events for you to look forward to in the New Year. There is a Precision Farming event in Cornwall; AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds’ Farmhouse Breakfast week begins on 26 January and AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds’ Cropping Systems events at Wellesbourne on 29 January and at Duchy College on 6 February. Also, there are two AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds agronomy conferences, in Hampshire and Gloucestershire on 18 and 19 February respectively. I will keep you posted with details, and you can book on the AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds website.

Of course I am but one person in a large region (it’s 5.5 hours driving top to bottom!). I look forward to meeting you, but in the meantime if you have thoughts, questions or suggestions, please seek me out by phone or email.



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.