Grain co-op Openfield back in profit

Farmer-owned grain marketing and inputs co-operative Openfield Group reported a better year to 30 June 2018, with a £400,000 pre-tax profit compared with the previous year’s £3.3m loss.

The £3.7m turnaround follows a year of transition, with a simplified business structure, reduced costs in some areas and a focus on improved service and value to both members and its food and drink industry customers, said the group. 

Net assets rose to £24.2m (compared with £23.7m in 2017), with no core borrowings and surplus working capital of £5.5m (£5.7m in 2017).

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Openfield lorry

The smaller crop from the 2017 harvest resulted in reduced export volumes, pushing turnover down to £628m (£655m in 2017), despite domestic volume growth with key consumers.

In addition to a small crop size, the UK grain industry also experienced haulage challenges, following the failure of milling wheat crops in the south, said Openfield.

This had resulted in longer journeys and a significantly increased demand for haulage across the sector, which increased costs.

Membership grew to 4,152 in the year to 30 June 2018, up 6% on 2017.