By FW reporters

WITH the ink barely dry on its management buy-out deal, Dalgety Agriculture has been on the acquisition trail.

Dalgety last week bought AFs seed processing business at Hexham, Northumberland, increasing the companys seed plants to nine. AF will now to concentrate on the livestock sector.

Also on the shopping list has been East Anglian firm Stamford Livestock, which was established 10 years ago to trade weaners and finished pigs. A spokesman for Dalgety Agriculture said it would help in the drive for improved traceability and assurance.

The deals follow last months £50 million purchase of Dalgety Agriculture by its directors. It followed a rollercoaster ride in the companys fortunes, as the BSE crisis and slump in farm incomes drove sales down 27% in the 1996/97 year.

The moves have also prompted speculation that other acquisitions could be on the cards. Dalgety is now looking to expand in Eastern Europe said Andrew Barnard, the companys commercial director.

Speaking at a press conference in Essex earlier this week, he also predicted further UK rationalisation, as food processors focused on fewer, larger suppliers and arable input manufacturers did the same with distributors.