Co-op link to save farmers cash

MEMBERS OF two leading farmer-owned businesses stand to benefit from a tie-up that will generate savings worth hundreds of thousands of pounds each year.

Countrywide Farmers, a supplier of agricultural products, and grain trader Centaur have unveiled plans for collaborating on haulage, feed inputs and farm supplies.

The new venture, called “Farmers in Partnership” stands to make its biggest savings on the haulage of their combined 2m tonnes/year.

The two companies will open their books on logistics, integrating their truck movements and cutting down on empty loads.

“We are all spending too much money on moving grain about in the UK and it‘s the single biggest expense in the business,” said Graham Lacey, trading director at Centaur.

“If a Countrywide lorry is in a Centaur farm, there‘s no reason it shouldn‘t be picking up produce.

“No longer will haulage just be a secondary concern, with marketing driving it; it could be that haulage determines how marketing is done.”

The deal also makes Centaur the sole supplier to Countrywide‘s feed mills, which turn out some 300,000t of mostly compound feed each year.

Savings will be passed on to farmers either through better farm-gate prices or lower feed prices, Mr Lacey added.

Both groups also expect to widen their markets by attracting new business from each others‘ customer bases.

“Collaboration will provide more routes to market,” said Countrywide‘s managing director, John Hardman.
“Those people that don‘t get in first are going to wake up in two years time and find there‘s no one left to form relationships with.”

Members would not be forced to get involved with the integrated supply chain, and few resources had gone into developing the venture, he added.

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