Fram Farmers records steady turnover despite low input costs

Fram Farmers has recorded a steady turnover and improved operating surplus despite a year of lower farm input costs.

The co-op, which has 1,300 farm business members, achieved a turnover of £183.3m in the year to 30 June 2015, only slightly down on last year’s turnover of £184.5m.

Its operating surplus improved from £13,722 last financial year to £174,117, mainly due to record profits from Framtrade, a non-member subsidiary of the Fram Farmers which sells kerosene and gas to 4,000 non-farming businesses and individuals. Framtrade contributed £378,288 to the group.

It returned all rebates negotiated with suppliers to members, to the tune of £849,463.

The co-op said despite a slight fall in purchasing turnover, which reflected much larger declines in the prices of two key farm inputs, fertiliser and fuel, purchasing volumes held up well.

Tight cashflows forced farmers to be more savvy in the way they spend their money and 61 new farming businesses joined the co-op in 2015.

  • Machinery turnover remained static, while tractor hire volume increased as farms continued to restructure their fleets and systems
  • Volume of livestock feed bought by members increased 17% to 124,200t, due to increasing commitment from existing members and an influx of new producers
  • 8.5% increase in animal health products
  • 5.6% increase in the volume of crop protection products as members bought more through the group, with a greater use of its fertiliser pools that allow scheduled delivery and split payments
  • 9% increase in electricity sales
  • Fram Farmers’ marketing department, which has a partnership with ADM, achieved a 44% year-on-year increase in the volume of grain committed to achieve a seasonal record of more than 200,000t
  • The number of farmers committed to the grain marketing increased by 61%.

Chairman Serena Greenwell said: “Given that the agricultural industry has struggled, with returns falling across most sectors, Fram Farmers has performed well.

“During the year we welcomed 61 new farm businesses, while existing members continued to increase their commitment to the group, grow their businesses and farm more hectares.”