FROM late summer, farmers will be able to deal with big agricultural merchants and suppliers on-line via a single web-site, says First4Farmings Nick Evans.
Speaking at a Grassland 2002 seminar, Mr Evans told farmers they had much to gain from closer interaction with merchants, processors and suppliers via the internet. "As with online banking, where it is possible to obtain secure access to your transaction history, it will be possible to obtain personalised information on your account with your merchant, and products sold.
"This could include order histories, delivery tracking, analysis of grain recently sold or information on milk quality and quantity shortly after collection."
But perhaps the greatest area of opportunity lies in using the internet at a marketing tool, said Mr Evans. "Farmers hold large amounts of information in the form of stock and crop records. The ability to electronically share this with farmer groups, corporate buyers or processing companies will enable traceability, supply-chain planning and forecasting and marketing efficiencies.
"If farmer groups could tell processors how many animals or how much produce would be marketed at what time, retailers would be more likely to order in bulk; this is how they deal abroad." *