Grain being tipped out of a Fengrain lorry

Record tonnages pushed turnover up 15% to £100.7m at marketing co-op Fengrain in the year to 31 July 2016.

The Cambridgeshire-based group handled 774,000t of combinable crops – 165,000t more than in the previous year and the second highest throughput in the co-op’s history.

However, pre-tax profit fell to £249,646 compared with £619,815 in the previous year, the result of a challenging marketplace and investment and expansion.

See also: Farmer co-op Fengrain to expand into south east England

Fengrain upgraded its storage infrastructure during the year, including £1.85m spent on a 10,000t malting barley storage capacity in Norfolk in partnership with the Crisp Malting Group.

It also established a new operation in Kent which traded ahead of expectation during its first year.

Its plan to build an anaerobic digester at Wimblington was also approved in October this year by the Planning Inspectorate.

Favourable outlook

The group is hopeful of reaching the 1m tonne-mark in 2016-17.

“The outlook for the year ahead is favourable, with yields and crop quality an improvement on the year just passed. The company has also been approached by a number of customers with a view to providing them with longer-term supply and provenance contracts,” said chairman Paul Wilkinson.

The co-op has 952 members, a slight increase on last year, and trades with 1,500 farmers.