Smaller crop hits revenues at major East Anglian grain and feed merchant

Gleadell Agriculture staff loading ships with grain at the Great Yarmouth grain terminal. Picture: N

Gleadell Agriculture staff loading ships with grain at the Great Yarmouth grain terminal. Picture: Nick Butcher. - Credit: Archant

A major East Anglian grain merchant has posted lower revenue and profits after a smaller crop hit its exports.

Gleadell Agriculture, which operates the grain terminal at Great Yarmouth Outer Harbour, said the grain markets had remained 'unpredictable and choppy' since Britain's decision to leave the EU and that post-Brexit trading arrangements continued to be a concern.

In the year to June 30, 2017, it reported turnover of £368.463m, down 9% from £405.202m a year earlier, while pre-tax profits slipped to £2.307m from £4.373m.

In a statement filed at Companies House, the directors said Gleadell's grain volumes had fallen in line with the UK crop size for the period covered by the accounts.

'Consequently, low volumes of exports impacted on export volumes in our ports. Increased competition at a farm-gate level in a low crop year led by re-establishing and new entrant competitors impact on commodity margins at origination.

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'Grain markets, following the EU referendum result and resulting currency volatility, have been unpredictable and choppy.'

The company said that fertiliser and seed sales have been 'solid with decent margin attainment', but noted that the market environment had been competitive.

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It added: 'Continuing uncertainty over future post-Brexit UK agriculture policy remains a concern for all sectors Gleadell operates in and the company is reviewing our cost base and resource requirement in the context of the unknown change that lie ahead.'

Gleadell Agriculture has its headquarters in Lincolnshire and an office in Turbine Way, Swaffham. It employed an average of 163 people over the year.

The company is regularly responsible for large-scale shipments of grain from Great Yarmouth.

In January of this year it loaded 25,000 tonnes of East Anglian feed barley – the equivalent of more than 900 lorry-loads over five days – into the MV Lord Nelson at the port. The shipment was headed for the Mediterranean port of Cartagena.

Last summer it filled the largest grain ship to leave the Norfolk/Suffolk region of the harvest year when it loaded the MV Federal Cedar with more than 26,000 tonnes of feed barley.

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