Processor, exporter and business management events coming up

20 February 2014

Since I last wrote the weather has barely improved.  As I drive around the region, I am starting to see extending rape crops and some wheat looking in need of nitrogen, but clearly for most the ground is just too wet. Likewise it’s been almost impossible to get out and start disease and pest control, and like many growers I’m starting to wonder about the impact of this on our harvest this year.

This week I chaired AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds’ Agronomy Workshops in Winchester and Gloucester, and was heartened by a straw poll that suggested very few acres of drilled corn have been lost. At the moment the state of the crops gives hope for at least average yields. Clearly many in the livestock sector are a lot worse off, as this picture from the Levels shows.  But, what a response from those across the country to help those affected – from fundraising and donating straw to organising transport! I wonder in what other industries that would happen?

Somerset Levels In Flood Feb 2014

The Somerset Levels earlier this week

The next few months will see our spring programme of Meet the Processor and Meet the Exporter events gathering speed. These events are a really useful opportunity to talk to the end market, to understand it, and learn what impact the variety, quality and quantity of your grain has on the processor’s ability to achieve the best return for you. We have a mix of end markets to visit, including:

New for 2014 is AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds’ Protecting your Profit business management workshop in Taunton on 5 March (and there’s another on 8 April in Tewkesbury for anyone who can’t make the first). These workshops will get down to the key issues affecting profitability and managing risks. We have local speakers to address local market issues but I am also really pleased we have AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds’ well-known Lead Analyst Jack Watts looking at risk, and Anderson’s Partner Sebastian Graff-Baker analysing cost control and budgeting.  This is a whole day event (starting at 9.30 with bacon rolls) but the second part of the day after lunch will include practical break-out sessions, allowing participants to work in more detail on subjects covered in the first half of the day.  It is important to register to attend these events, either by phoning the AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds events team on 024 7647 8723, emailing

Look forward to seeing you there!



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.