A farmer’s son has launched an online grain pricing service to help growers secure the highest price from a range of bidders.

Once registered on the XFarm service, sellers can view the highest bid for grain or oilseeds in their postcode location. If they like the price they can accept the bid and are then committed to selling a minimum of one load – 29t – to that bidder.

XFarm does not take part in the trade or take a commission from trades. Once a seller clicks to accept a bid, the buyer then has 30 minutes in which to contact the seller and confirm the deal, including whether a larger tonnage is available at the agreed price.

Alternatively, sellers can offer a set tonnage and quality and invite tenders for their produce.

XFarm in a nutshell
  • Online price discovery service – www.xfarm.co.uk – offers grower highest bid from a range of buyers
  • Farm-assured grain only
  • Can be used to monitor grain prices – no obligation to sell
  • Costs sellers £100 a year
  • Seller must be authorised to market the grain
  • TASCC-assured merchants only
  • All buyers checked daily for creditworthiness
  • Users encouraged to report feedback on those they do business with

“XFarm has been developed to reduce industry procurement costs and provide transparency to what is currently a very complex market,” said founder Joss Vincent, a Lincolnshire farmer’s son and former grain trader.

“The website is primarily designed to highlight the highest ex-farm price it can find, giving farmers the capacity to benchmark, record and make informed decisions based on postcode-specific live quotes.” It is not uncommon for XFarm to show that bids at any location at one time can vary by up to £10/t.

“There are other online tools available, but until now, none have had the ability to evaluate multiple buyers and provide the resultant ‘live’ quotes.”

There are currently six merchants bidding on the site, two national and four regional, with another two regional operators set to join shortly. Initially focused on Lincolnshire, the site now has farmer users from North Yorkshire to Essex.

Their reaction has been positive – Robert Howard, who farms at Nocton, in Lincolnshire, found the site very easy to use and has sold 200t through XFarm, also trying a larger tender. Using the site saved time and gave more marketing options, he said.

Derek North has also sold through XFarm and found it helpful not only for selling, but for keeping track of a highly volatile market.

“It’s easy to use and I have dealt with some new people through it. The buyer was in touch within 10 minutes of me accepting the bid. I suspect I got a better price than I could get by ringing around,” said Mr North, who farms near Sleaford.

“It saves time and offers the best price on the day – I think it puts me a bit more in control.”