Lewes Farmers will cease trading after 44 years following a successful link up with co-op Framlingham Farmers.

The decision was taken at the company’s AGM on 17 January and will take effect at the end of its financial year on 30 June, 2007.

Peter Appleton, chairman of the Sussex-based farmer-owned buying group, said the business was financially sound but a question mark hung over its long-term sustainability and better process could be achieved elsewhere.

He expected most of the group’s 120 shareholders to join Framlingham Farmers, which has 600 members farming over 162,000ha (300,000 acres).

Framlingham Farmers’ chairman Robert Rous said: “We are excited by the prospect of two like-minded organisations joining forces and are confident this will generate even greater benefits for all involved.”