Turnover fell slightly at farmers’ buying and marketing co-op Fram Farmers in the year to 30 June 2014, mainly on lower grain volumes from the poor harvest of 2012.
The fall of about 3% put group turnover at £184.5m, with an operating surplus of £13,722 (£138,301 in previous year) and record financial reserves of more than £2.67m.
However, inputs volumes in key areas rose, with more members participating in the group’s fertiliser pools with the commitment to the granular urea pool up 37.5% and overall fertiliser tonnage up 8.5% on the previous year.
Forward purchasing fuel also gained volume, with 115 members booking a fixed price over the harvest period for more than 3.4m litres at 64.5p/litre.
Agrochemical turnover rose by 10.3% to £31.4m while fertiliser tonnage was up 25%, bringing a turnover of £29.2m.
The group’s retail subsidiary, trading mainly with non-members, contributed £185,000. Growth in other key sectors included:
- Electricity sales up 14.4% – Fram Farmers now sells power to more than 3,500 sites
- Feed volumes up 6% to 105,000t
- Building materials sales up 19.9%, to £5.24m
- Machinery turnover up 8.4% to £12m.
Changes and innovations during the year included a move to new offices and a rebrand from AtlasFram to Fram Farmers.
Atlas Fram has more 1,250 shareholder-members who collectively farm more than 350,000ha across 39 counties. Membership is charged based on an area basis, with 28 more farm businesses on 6,146ha joining in the year, while existing members also expanded by 5,200ha.