FW Awards 2009 winner: Arable Adviser of the Year – Peter Riley

  • Sponsored by Firestone
  • WINNER: Peter Riley, Prime Agriculture, Norfolk

It is a business model to envy – and one that many agronomists will want to look closely at emulating.

Peter Riley has set up his business, and that of Prime Agriculture, to deal with large farms. But while that undoubtedly helps him be successful, what really stands out is his ability to analyse what his cutomers’ needs are and then bringing his expertise to deliver exactly the advice they need to thrive.

His analysis doesn’t stop with his clients’ businesses. He has carefully assessed his own strengths and time to allow him to concentrate on providing a service that maximises the value he can provide.

For most clients that means being heavily involved with the farms’ future strategies, aiming to increase their bottom line. “I like to be involved in the management plan for the farm. We’re looking for consistency over the whole farm. On farms of larger sizes, increasing the average performance across the farm is the thing that makes the big difference to the bottom line,” he says.

He looks closely at all aspects of the business, starting with organising the farm rotation, often using block cropping to ease workloads and reduce costs, and advising on what machinery will be most effective.

Agchems don’t escape Peter’s close scrutiny either. Detailed analysis of products, both individually and in programmes, allows him to put together the most cost-effective programmes.

But he recognises he sometimes needs back-up. “When you are dealing with large specialist arable farms, you can’t expect to do everything yourself. My aim [for Prime] is to be the best specialist technical team in the area.”

So he brings in outside help, or help from within the Prime team, to do, for example, some of the red-tape paperwork for his clients.

“My time is more valuable [to my clients] than to spend it on the drudgery of putting together manure plans.”

He also employs a scout to help him target which fields need special attention during a visit. “I use him to find where there are problems.”

It all adds up to a very impressive package: Technical expertise, sharp business acumen and outstanding organisation skills – it is no wonder Peter is so valued by large farms in East Anglia.



  • Provides agronomy and business advice to large farm businesses in East Anglia
  • 15 fully serviced clients plus strategic advice to five more
  • Sits on CEL barley and protocols committees


  • Brilliant business model for agronomists
  • Outstanding organisational and analytical skills
  • Superb service that improves large farm business profits


  • Peter’s focus on increasing his clients’ bottom line was a key factor in making him a worthy winner. His dedication to his customers helped to separate him from the other finalists in this very closely fought competition. Barry Coleman, Firestone


  • Peter has developed crop rotations for his clients that have enabled them to expand acreages and manage their time effectively. He has managed to make the large area he covers not only simple for him but simple for his clients. Bryce Rham

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