1 October 1999

NMRexpands on-line shopping facilities

THE range of goods available to milk producers over the internet increased at the Dairy Event, when NMR expanded its new farm express service.

Added to the home shopping pages of its website are dairy bull semen and products from the pharmacy and merchants list (PML) such as wormers and minerals.

Promising competitive pricing, 24 hour access, and next-day delivery for PML orders placed before midday, NMRs head of agribisiness, Julian Bryan said e-commerce will soon be an integral part of many farm businesses.

Farmers ordering dairy semen will be able to state the criteria they require of their bulls – such as production, type or price – and raise a list of sires. They can then purchase semen from these bulls, provided they are available through one of the three semen companies signed up to the site.

NMR is currently working with AltaPon, Dairy Daughters and Semen World, although anticipate other companies joining its site.

But although offering up to 20% off list price for semen, the companies involved will not generally commit to discounts above those offered through other routes, such as by phone or through their own company websites. Equally, the Farm Express site offers no scope for discount on volume, which producers are used to receiving.

However, both NMR and the semen companies feel internet trading will drive prices down, through transparency of pricing and the systems efficiency.

The explosion in PC ownership – which NMR estimates will reach 75-80% on dairy farms within two to three years – will also fuel this downward pressure.

"If this route is successful, it has to be driven by price," added Mr Bryan. "As we grow turnover, we will look for better deals, and I think you will find our prices move downwards."