Surprise grain gain for cereal growers

Cereal growers could have reaped an average increase of £46 per tonne on last year by joining one of the country's top-performing "wheat pool", it is claimed.

Cereal growers could have reaped an average increase of £46 per tonne on last year by joining one of the country's top-performing "wheat pool", it is claimed.

Gleadell Agriculture managing director David Sheppard said its 2007 harvest wheat pool had returned a base price of £118.04, compared with £72.15 per tonne last year. "It will out-perform all other pool results we have heard of, and, in order to beat it, farmers would have had to sell all their wheat after August 1, 2007," he added.

Mr Sheppard - whose company has an office at Swaffham - said: "In this context the Gleadell harvest wheat pool has performed excellently."

As grain prices started rising sharply earlier this year, many arable farmers had sold forward - for harvest delivery - at prices ranging from the mid-£80s to low-£90s. However, grain prices rose sharply from late spring, which caught many on the hop.

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"We believe this result reinforces the fact that a good pool should form an important part of most farmers' marketing strategy," said Mr Sheppard.

"Our 2008 pool is now open, and

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we expect uptake to be brisk."

He added: "In their own right farmers have understandably been keen sellers of wheat from below £80 ex-farm all the way up to today's price of £160+.

Premiums returned for all grades of biscuit and bread-making wheat are again at the high end of what has been available in the open market."

Trader Jonathan Lane, of Gleadell's head office at Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, said feed wheat returned an average price of £72.15/tonne for 2006, with milling wheat at £82.89/tonne.

He said the business offered a marketing service, providing the growers with market information and the financial information to back that up. "The farmers have to realise what their job is: the farmers' job is growing the crop," he added.

"We took some data from the HGCA on the weighted corn returns and we as a company bought more than 250,000 tonnes of wheat for under £100 per tonne, pre-harvest, at prices ranging from £70 to £99 for all months.

"So, if you were one of the farmers who sold in the open market

pre-harvest, you were at least £19 per tonne-plus worse off than if you had not been in our pool.

"A mixed portfolio of marketing tools should be used by the grower to market their wheat to try to achieve a fair average across the season. That is what we aim to do for our pool members: provide not the top of the market but take out the guys who panic and sell on the down-days. The result this year speaks for itself.

"We are aware of other people's pools. Another large national has returned £110, I can think of another co-op that has just about scrapped over £100, and the range seems to be just under £100 and £118.04 per tonne.

"I would say that Gleadell's harvest pool this year is one of the best performers in the country."

Figures for the Gleadell harvest 2007 wheat pool are: Base feed wheat - £118.04; average feed wheat - £119.54; highest feed wheat - £123.18; bread-making wheat - £124.46-£140.04

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