FARMERS MUST form closer partnerships with the whole supply chain if they are to succeed in increasingly competitive world markets.

This was the common message delivered to attendees of the National Farmers Union combinable crops conference at Peterborough (Oct 27).

The industry must develop positive partnerships, where farmers work closely with end buyers to identify exactly what they want, said John Duffy, managing director of Gleadell Agriculture.

Price swings in wheat markets of up to £50 per tonne could well become the norm, he warned growers.

“We‘ve got to realise that we have to look at the world stage. Volatility is here to stay – we must learn to make the most of these price swings.”

Becoming more market focussed will provide further opportunities for growers, added Peter Kendall, NFU deputy president.

Future concerns amongst end users over securing raw material supplies could lead to an increased trend toward more fixed price contracts, he said.

The need for long term industry supply contracts was also reinforced by Dominic Vincent from Terra nitrogen and Northeast Biofuels.

Northeast Biofuels is an umbrella organisation for a number of different companies, from farmers to biodiesel blenders, he explained.

“We need everyone working together to make it work.”