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FARMERS

FIRST

Issue 45 – Winter 2017/2018

LAMMA 2018 Special Inside

MACHINERY HIRE ‘BEST OPTION’ FOR MANY Hiring equipment for a short period has always been popular for one-off or infrequent jobs, but many leading farming businesses prefer this method to obtain the use of machinery rather than purchasing it. Tom Mountain, Machinery Buyer for Fram Farmers, explains why. The number of Fram Farmers’ members looking to hire machinery is increasing rapidly. The question is now not ‘why hire?’ but ‘why not hire’?

Hiring used to be considered the poor man’s alternative to buying, but now the ‘smart money’ is in hiring and this form of machinery management is increasingly being used by the best-managed farming businesses who understand the significant benefits it can provide. At the Fram Farmers’ Brexit workshops in June, key speaker Rachel Lawrence of the Farm Business Survey highlighted the importance of understanding where your farm is positioned relative to others of a similar type.

THE POWER OF FOUR Quadtrac CVX

Farmall 55-75 A

Puma X

The Top 25% arable farms spend 32% less on labour and 28% less on machinery per £100 of turnover! They invest almost twice as much in their businesses as the average, and many hire key machinery rather than purchasing it to save money, and because of the flexibility it brings in terms of managing their operations, adapting to change and reducing risk. MAJOR BENEFITS Surely hiring cannot be more economical than buying? Well, it can. In fact, there are  Continued on page 4

Come and see our four NEW models at LAMMA 2018 Maxxum ActiveDrive 8


Accounting for your success 2

We are an independent firm of chartered accountants and business advisers. Founded nearly 90-years ago to service the needs of East Anglia’s farming communities, today we offer traditional accountancy practice alongside many Agricultural businesses now operate specialist and niche services to clients with fewer employees and some around thefarmers UK and overseas. have seized the opportunity

LEGAL CHANGES IMPACT LANDLORDS to diversify by letting on the residential market ‘tied’ farm cottages which once homed their workers.

Services & Sectors: Farmers are renowned for their ability to think outside-the-box to find ways of improving profits and returns on their investments. Whilst this letting option does help to broaden horizons and maximise the use of farm assets, it is important that recent changes in legislation coupled to regulatory commitments are understood and not transgressed.

Agriculture

Cloud Accounting Construction

where solid fuel heating is used. There is also an obligation to provide ‘prescribed information’ for new tenants. Failure, if this is not done, includes forfeiting the right to regain possession. If the property has more than five tenants forming more than one household, it is a large house in multiple occupation and the landlord may need a licence from the local council.

Corporate Finance & Tax When the ‘tied’ cottages were occupied by farm workers, they were subject to Agricultural Law. Now, the same properties being offered for rent on the open market are subject to residential lettings legislation with additional obligations.

Private Client Tax

Property Investments We may feel that regulation increasingly Technology affects our daily lives and landlords may

be forgiven for thinking that they have had to meet new legislation more than most. In many ways, these changes are actually for the better. They should raise standards relating to the letting of residential property and weed out rogue landlords. Simultaneously, the legislative changes have made it more challenging for landlords who manage a small property portfolio by introducing obligations covering matters like retaliatory evictions, statutory fines, health and safety plus consumer protection.

Wealth Management

The existing legislation is set to tighten again. Currently, new tenants should receive an Energy Performance Certificate. From April 1, 2018, all private sector rentals that are new or being renewed must have an EPC rating of E or above. This standard will apply to all existing tenancies from April 1, 2020. Legislative changes impact on landlords’ finances and that is where professional advice could be needed. Higher stamp duty applies on the purchase of second homes; Income Tax Relief on mortgage interest for rental properties has changed; and higher rates of Capital Gains Tax apply to the gains from disposals of residential property not eligible for Principal Private Residence relief.

Contact us to speak to a specialist Letting spare accommodation can still generate additional income but farmers and get a free initial consultation ‘Right To Rent’ is one of the more onerous new laws. It requires landlords to check that potential tenants’ immigration status does not disqualify them from occupying the premises. Separately, the law now demands that at least one smoke alarm is located on every floor and a carbonmonoxide alarm exists in every room

must check their obligations beforehand to avoid both nasty surprises or being branded a rogue landlord.

Greenwood House, Skyliner Way, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, IP32 7GY Telephone: (01284) 752313 bury@whitingandpartners.co.uk Chatteris Suite L22, South Fens Business Centre Fenton Way, Chatteris, Cambs. PE16 6TT Telephone: (01354) 694111 chatteris@whitingandpartners.co.uk Ely George Court, Bartholomew’s Walk, Ely, Cambridgeshire, CB7 4JW Telephone: (01353) 662595 ely@whitingandpartners.co.uk Kings Lynn Norfolk House, Hamlin Way, Kings Lynn, Norfolk, PE30 4NG Telephone: (01553) 774745 kingslynn@whitingandpartners.co.uk March The Old School House, Dartford Road, March, Cambridgeshire, PE15 8AE Telephone: (01354) 652304 march@whitingandpartners.co.uk Mildenhall Willow House, 46 St. Andrews Street, Mildenhall, Suffolk, IP28 7HB Telephone: (01638) 712267 mildenhall@whitingandpartners.co.uk Peterborough Eco Innovation Centre, Peters Court, City Rd, Peterborough, Cambs, PE1 1SA Telephone: (01733) 564082 peterborough@whitingandpartners.co.uk Ramsey 108 High Street, Ramsey, Huntingdon, Greenwood House, Greenwood Cambridgeshire, PE26 1BSCourt Skyliner Way, Bury St. Edmunds Telephone: (01487) 812441IP32 7GY ramsey@whitingandpartners.co.uk St Ives Unit 14, Raleigh House, Compass Point Business Park, Founded 90-years ago, St Ives.almost Cambridgeshire. PE27 5JL Whiting & Partners is an independent Telephone: (01480) 468931 firmstives@whitingandpartners.co.uk of accountants and business advisers with 12 offices across the Wisbech eastern 13 Partners, 12 &region. 13 The Our Crescent, Wisbech, fourCambridgeshire, Associates andPE13 150 staff 1EH offer traditional accountancy practice Telephone: (01945) 584113 wisbech@whitingandpartners.co.uk alongside many specialist and niche services.. For more information call 01284 752313 Bury St Edmunds | Ely | Huntingdon Kings Lynn | March | Mildenhall | Peterborough Ramsey | St Ives | St Neots | Wisbech

Adrian Pepper T: 01553 774745 E: adrianpepper@whitingandpartners.co.uk

www.whitingandpartners.co.uk


CEO Comment 3

SHORT-TERM CHALLENGES WILL ULTIMATELY STRENGTHEN OUR INDUSTRY

Richard Anscombe

Chief Executive, Fram Farmers

I’ve just returned from two highlyinformative events which highlighted long-term optimism amongst those at the cutting edge. The first was REAP 2017, the UK’s leading agri-tech conference. Organised by AgriTech East (www.agritech-east. co.uk), its theme was ‘Productive, profitable and sustainable? Can agri-tech deliver the hat-trick?’ The other, a Savills breakfast meeting, included an insight into how venture capitalists view the future of agriculture. Both highlighted that change is inevitable and that the pace of change will never be as slow as it is today. Whilst the outcome of Brexit remains uncertain, the future opportunities for global agriculture are already crystal clear; but to get there will involve significant short to medium-term changes. Keeping up with innovations in technology and making sense of their practical implementation will be a key challenge. Arming ourselves with data so we can make the right decisions is crucial. So, invest in the future by attending events such as these, understand what is happening in the world and, if necessary, visit other countries to see what the best farmers there are doing.

The Top 25% of farming businesses will be successful whatever the global and economic situation, a key reason being that they benchmark their performance against others. You can do so via the Farm Business Survey website (www.farmbusinesssurvey.co.uk/ benchmarking). FORWARD THINKING An excellent example of innovation came from the keynote speaker at REAP 2017, Maria Giraudo from Argentina. In the 1980s Argentina’s farming industry was in crisis. Lack of knowledge, decades of under-investment and a history of taking everything from the land without ‘putting back’ meant that farmers had destroyed the soil. Erosion was a national problem and crop yields had plateaued, threatening food supplies for the country’s 40 million inhabitants. What was the industry’s crunch point turned out to be pivotal, bringing together disparate farmers and networks into an effective organisation which, by working and speaking as one, reversed the destruction of land and environment. Since then food production has increased 500%, largely by adopting non-inversion crop establishment and GM technology. Maria is a fifth-generation farmer, agronomic consultant and Coordinator of Public Policies for Sustainable Development within Argentina’s Ministry of Agribusiness. Her family produce soy, wheat, barley, corn, sorgum and livestock and, as the daughter of one of the

The Laughton Ploughing Match was held at a member’s farm at Preston Court Farm, Glynde, East Sussex on Wednesday 20th September. For the first time Fram ran their own mini stand with the insurance team who were keen to meet members in the area. Many Sussex members popped into the stand for a chat. Will Kendrick of AT&A, with Jemma Neesham, Lydia Shutler and Becky Bower of Fram Farmers.

pioneers of this approach, she is carrying on a family legacy. She says: “As farmers we haven’t done a good job communicating to help consumers understand how taking care of the soil and sustainable production benefit everyone. We should talk about what we do, the challenges and how we solve them, to build trust with consumers.” Today, 92% of the farmed land in Argentina is under no-till, and when her government began attacking the practice Maria and 2,000 other farmers took to social media to tell society about the benefits. OVERNIGHT CHANGE New Zealand’s farmers have also had to change. In 1984 the government scrapped subsidies overnight, bringing a decade of pain for farmers, but since 1994 agricultural productivity has increased significantly, largely by changing traditional practices. Between 1973, when the UK joined the Common Market, and now, UK farm productivity has increased by 137%, compared with 256% in New Zealand. Along with Australia and the USA, New Zealand’s farm productivity continues to rise at a fair clip, unlike the UK where it is just nudging up. It is obvious that UK farming cannot rely on government for guidance or financial support. On a positive note, the Savills meeting highlighted the huge amount of venture capital funding being channelled into AgTech. From £50 million in 2010, it mushroomed to £850 million in 2016. Venture capitalists are amongst the most forward-thinking people on the planet, and if they think that agriculture is a ‘good bet’ it probably is. Food production will have to increase exponentially to feed a rapidly-expanding global population, but current methods and technologies will not achieve that. Many farming businesses have traditionally been production based and quite insular. That is not a criticism, but this legacy will make it difficult to change. A key part of Fram Farmers’ future role will be to highlight emerging and newlyemerged technologies to make it easier for members to know what is available and decide how to change. Being member-owned, totally independent and of sufficient scale, we are ideally placed, but the UK agricultural sector needs to come together so we all speak with one strong voice. Just like farmers in Argentina did in the 1980s!

Fram Farmers, Station Road, Framlingham, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP13 9EE Tel 01728 727700 Every precaution has been taken to ensure that the material published in Farmers First is accurate at the time of printing. For further details about anything featured in this edition please call Sophie Clarke at Fram Farmers on 01728 727700, or Julian Cooksley and Charles Macdowell at Land Communication on 01473 353613.


4 Machinery Hire Continued from page 1

MACHINERY HIRE ‘BEST OPTION’ FOR MANY so many other benefits that it is difficult to understand why more farming businesses do not take this approach. Those that favour machinery hire are increasing their use of this technique and Fram Farmers now hires up to 70 tractors per year on behalf of members, so we obtain very good rates. Hire companies can hire out machines at attractive rates because they purchase in large numbers, service them in-house and refurbish if required before selling to ready markets around the world. Why buy a machine that you will only use for 10 or 12 weeks of the year when you can hire it for a fraction of the cost, have a new machine incorporating the latest technology, have all servicing costs covered, a replacement provided should anything go wrong and enjoy much greater flexibility from season to season?

We often come across members who hire direct from dealers then put the invoices through their Fram Farmers account, but the rates they pay are much higher than by hiring through the cooperative, so please contact me, Thomas Mountain, for a quote as it could save you a significant amount. Hiring has become much more versatile in recent years. Now, you can hire pretty much anything, from combines, tractors and telescopic handlers to trailers, balers and cultivation equipment. Most tractors are either brand new or nearly new, and come very well equipped to maximise their resale value, with a front PTO/ linkage and GPS guidance ready. Order early and you can specify the machine to your exact requirements.

EARLY ORDERING ADVISED The peak time for ordering hire machines is from January to April and that is when the ‘regulars’ will ensure that their orders are in for the season ahead. Through Hawk Hire and Frank Rowland we can source a wide range of hire machines. If you are looking for a tractor, for example, you can choose from Case IH, JCB, John Deere, Massey Ferguson, McCormick and New Holland. We can supply other makes, but generally they will be more expensive model-for-model as the volumes are smaller. Hawk Tractors is the UK’s number one hirer of tractors and telehandlers to the agricultural and construction sectors, with trailers and bowsers also available. With over 800 machines and an ongoing renewal programme, the average age of the rental fleet is under 12 months. Hawk offer a nationwide service which includes a range of popular models from Case IH, JCB and John Deere. Case IH models include the Puma 150, Puma 165, Puma 185, Puma 220 and Puma 240, together with the award-winning Optum 300 CVX. Hawk also offer the JCB Fastrac 8330, 4220, 2170 and 3230, while the popular John Deere range is represented with the 6130M, 6155M, 6145R, 6155R, 6175R, 6195R, 6215R, 7250R, 7290R, 7310R and 8370R. Rowland Tractors are one of the largest suppliers of tractors and machinery in the UK, with over 600 tractors and over 60 telehandlers available for hire, in addition

to a wide range of equipment, from tipping and dump trailers from 8 to 16 tonnes, vacuum tankers and manure spreaders to wood chippers and post drivers. A family business dedicated to the agricultural industry, it has over 40 years’ experience and operates a fleet of John Deere tractors which can be delivered anywhere in the UK via the company’s own transport. For further details and pricing contact Thomas Mountain 01728 727719

PIE AND PINT EVENTS - 2018

Members enjoy a Pie & Pint evening at the Huntsman at Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire. This autumn they were also held in East Sussex, Kent, Wiltshire, Devon, Cornwall and Cheshire.

Date Arrive Eat Venue Address Tue, 23rd Jan 7pm 7:30pm White Horse

Ipswich Road, Stoke Ash IP23 7ET

Thu, 25th Jan 7pm 7:30pm The Crown

High Street, Ufford IP13 6EL

Thu, 1st Feb 7pm 7:30pm The Queen’s Head Rede Road, Hawkedon, Bury St Edmunds IP29 4NN Tue, 13th Feb 7pm 7:30pm The George

5-7 High Street, Spaldwick PE28 0TD

Thu, 22nd Feb 7pm 7:30pm The Crown

29 Market Hill, Framlingham IP13 9AN

Wed, 28th Feb 7pm 7:30pm

The Buck Inn

To attend, please email Events@framfarmers.co.uk

The Street, Flixton, Bungay NR35 1NZ


Machinery Hire 5

HIRING WORKS FOR POTATO FARM Purchasing tractors which will be required for just a few weeks each year makes no financial sense, according to Peter Mann, of Suffolkbased Mann Potatoes. “Most farms now employ only a limited number of full-time staff and take on additional part-time workers to cover the busiest times of the year,” Peter Mann states. “We changed to that system eight years ago because employing enough full-time workers to cover the peak periods had become too expensive. Ever since then, we have hired tractors for our seasonal workers. Currently we have five full-time staff, one apprentice and up to 24 seasonal workers. We own four Fendt and Massey-Ferguson tractors which are driven by the full-time staff. It provides them with a permanent tractor that they can look after, the cost can be written down against tax and after that it becomes an asset for the business. But there are significant downsides too. Our experience of purchasing tractors is that when you buy just one or two at a time you are relatively insignificant to the dealer, so it is hard to negotiate good

terms and get good back-up service. Hiring gives us new or nearly-new machines and avoids those issues. COST-EFFECTIVE It is also significantly more cost-effective because they are on the farm only when they are engaged in high-value operations. That avoids the cost of having a large fleet of tractors standing idle for most of the year and having to find work for people out of season. The other major advantage is that the cost of hire is known in advance, so we can budget accurately. It also takes away the worry of having to replace expensive items such as tyres, or stand the cost of mechanical repairs. In the case of a significant breakdown we simply receive a replacement machine. LITTLE INTERRUPTION Last season, for example, there was a problem with the four-wheel-drive system on one of the largest hire tractors and it was out of action for five days, but because a replacement was delivered the following day there was very little interruption to our schedule. With a whole team depending on that tractor

and delivery deadlines to meet, the cost of downtime is very high, so minimising it is a very important consideration. Each year we hire 130hp, 150hp and 210hp John Deere tractors. To purchase the smaller model new would cost approximately £80,000, the larger version around £130,000. We cannot possibly justify that for a machine which will be used for just a few weeks of the year. I start considering what tractors will be required for the season as early as August of the previous year, and place an order with Frank Rowland by November. We have always found that he is the cheapest when it comes to hire tractors and he supplies high-specification machines that are exactly what we want. They have 50km/h transmissions, which is essential as they spend two-thirds of the time hauling trailers on the road, together with full cab suspension and row-crop wheels. The tractors are always delivered on time, we’ve never been let down and being a member of Fram Farmers brings significant additional discounts. We hire two 150hp John Deere tractors from the middle of February to the end of April, and in those 10 weeks aim to do 60 hours per week. Then, in the autumn, we take four 130hp models and a 210hp version. The beauty of hiring from Frank Rowland is that the arrangement is very flexible. The fact that he will not hire a machine out until it is back in his yard means that if we need to keep a tractor for an extra week or two we can do that very easily.”

Peter Mann

Mann Potatoes, Hill Farm, Iken Mann Potatoes, which is based at Hill Farm, Iken, on the North Suffolk coast, is owned by Richard and Natasha Mann and focuses on ‘quality over quantity’, producing specific varieties for niche markets. Dayto-day operations are handled by the couple’s eldest son, Peter. The business owns 1,000 acres of land, all of it irrigated, but farms approximately 2,500 acres, including 1,100 acres of potatoes in Suffolk and Essex, 260 acres of onions, plus maize, peas, barley and grass for the herd of Lincoln Red cattle. It also rents land to other growers who produce turf, carrots and spring greens.

Your Nationwide Training Specialist


6 Staff Profile - Thomas Coulter

PROACTIVE APPROACH ‘A NECESSITY’ FOR THOMAS Since Thomas Coulter joined our grain marketing team as Grain Buyer in August 2016 the number of members marketing their grain through Fram Farmers has continued to grow. Employed by Fram Farmers, Thomas works closely with Tim Styles, the Grain Marketing and Purchasing Manager, together with grain marketing partner ADM Direct to ensure that members are updated on prices, trends and opportunities to suit their specific requirements. Brought up in an army family, Thomas spent a year working in Melbourne before studying Agri-Business Management at Newcastle University. During his third year he came to work at Fram Farmers on placement, which provided experience of every department, including Crop Marketing. Named ‘Employee of the Year’ at the end of his time with us, Thomas subsequently re-joined Fram Farmers to take up a new role which was created to further develop our grain marketing department. He states: “Being employed by Fram Farmers allows me to really focus on the needs of the members and provide genuine, unbiased advice without the pressures which are commonly associated with commercially-

driven companies. I firmly believe that this is vital in today’s marketplace so that members can be assured of receiving the most appropriate advice for their business. A proactive approach is a necessity to help me fulfil my role as a grain buyer by keeping members up to date with what is happening in today’s fast-changing, highlyvolatile markets so that they can make the best decisions. The importance of building trust and relationships with the members I deal with was imperative from the outset. With grain trading in fewer hands, the need for farmers to receive fully independent advice is becoming much more recognised.” Fram Farmers offers a complete cooperative crop marketing service for cereals, rapeseed and pulses, with the benefits of a personal service tailored to individual requirements, totally independent, unbiased advice, the reassurance of dealing with a financially-secure trading partner, regular marketing updates and free sample collection and testing services. The partnership with ADM Direct provides an inside track on global trends, world stocks, yields, tonnage traded and market requirements, which has proven extremely helpful in volatile markets.

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The service has an extensive portfolio of marketing packages which includes a competitive ex-farm trading service, a range of pools with market-leading performance, access to exclusive premium contracts, credit insurance on all transactions, competitive advance payment options and a range of storage options. There are no hidden charges and every tonne that members market through the cooperative generates an income for the Society which is reinvested to further benefit members. For further details contact Thomas Coulter 01728 727719 thomas.coulter@framfarmers.co.uk

SHANK STYLE

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TUNGSTEN FACE Leading edge of body and wings is Tungsten to increase durability.

TIP REPLACEMENT

Roll pins provide quick installation of tips.

TUBES Granular, liquid & bean tube options.

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LAMMA 2018: Puma CVX 7

SUFFOLK MEMBER MAKES THE MOST OF MACHINERY SCHEME The Fram Farmers Machinery Scheme, and specifically the additional manufacturer’s discount it provides on the Case IH range of tractors, combine harvesters, balers and telescopic handlers, was a key reason why Suffolk farmer Robert Dyball came to rely on the technically-advanced brand. A third-generation farming family at Elmswell in Suffolk, D. Dyball & Son had for 40 years been a customer of local dealer Ernest Doe at Sudbury. In 2004, the branch franchise changed to Case IH and became known as Ernest Doe Power. Robert was looking to replace an existing tractor and having priced up the alternatives bought a new Case IH MXU 125, one of the Maxxum range launched in 2003. Having recently joined Fram Farmers, the sweetener was an additional manufacturer’s rebate through the cooperative’s Case IH Fleet Scheme, which saved him a substantial amount. That initial purchase led to many others, a new Axial-Flow 5088 combine arriving in 2011, a Puma 160 in 2013, a Maxxum 140 in 2014 and most recently, in April 2017, a new Puma 175 CVX. Each has benefited from the Fram Farmers rebate. LEAP OF FAITH “Changing brand was a leap of faith,” states Robert Dyball, who runs the farm with just part-time help at harvest. “Having been with another for so long, I was concerned that Case IH might not live up to our expectations, but with the excellent service that I had always had from Ernest Doe’s Sudbury branch, particularly from Service Manager Tim Dickerson, I was certain that it would work out.” The biggest change came when switching from a brand of combine that they had known for decades to the Case

IH Axial-Flow. Initial concerns quickly passed and the new combine - more attractively priced and much simpler in design - proved itself with greater output and excellent reliability. In 2014, the farm’s original Case IH Maxxum MXU 125 completed ten years’ service, and was changed for a new Maxxum 140, which is used with the farm’s 28m, 3,200-litre Amazone trailed sprayer, a power harrow-drill combination and for general duties, such as pulling trailers. CONTINUOUSLY VARIABLE The latest addition to the fleet, the Puma 175 CVX, replaced the original Puma 160 which had completed 1,200 hours in four years. Powered by a 6.7-litre, six-cylinder FPT engine producing up to 225hp, it features the Case IH 50 kph continuouslyvariable transmission. This combines with Automatic Productivity Management (APM), which fine-tunes the tractor’s settings by coordinating the engine, transmission and PTO with the Multicontroller or travel pedal, to achieve the ideal balance of fuel efficiency and productivity. Also fitted are front axle suspension, front linkage and PTO, together with larger 650/75 R38 tyres which provide a bigger footprint to improve traction and reduce ground pressure. It has the Case IH AFS Pro 700 touch-screen interface integrated into the armrest which provides all the information about the tractor’s performance at a glance. Robert even specified the optional semi-active heated and ventilated leather driver’s

Robert Dyball and Arianne, one of his two daughters, in front of the Case IH Puma 175, which is used with a 3m Flat-Lift, six-furrow Lemken reversible plough and 4m Vaderstad Rapid drill on D. Dyball & Son. The business farms 250ha of combinable crops, including winter wheat oilseed rape and beans on two farms in Suffolk and Norfolk, as well as hosting trials for Limagrain UK and BASF.

seat, with an adjustable cushion that reacts to the individual driver’s weight to provide an optimum ride. “This is our first CVX model and I have noticed that it is more comfortable and more powerful than the previous model, as well as being more fuel efficient because of the CVX transmission. The guidance system is also significantly better. The CVX did take a few hours to get used to but I am very pleased that I chose it. Because it is much more controllable, the tractor always operates at precisely the correct speed and you never find yourself between gears as can happen with a conventional transmission.” So useful has the CVX transmission proved that Robert intends to replace the Maxxum 140 with a CVX model in 2018.

Case IH will be on stand G16 at LAMMA 2018. For the first time in the UK, Case IH will be showing the world’s largest CVT tractor, the new Quadtrac CVX. They will also be launching the costeffective Puma X, the productive Maxxum ActiveDrive 8 and the light multi-role Farmall A tractors.


8 LAMMA 2018

3+33@0%*

NEW MAXXUM. LOADS MORE. New Maxxum is brilliant with loaders - its Quick-Lock makes attaching/detaching super fast. It’s got the tightest of turning circles, an upgraded front axle, simple joystick control and excellent high roof visibility.On the road or in the field Maxxum sips fuel but can handle the toughest jobs, thanks to its 115-150 hp FTP engines. And there are CVX transmission, PTO and Multicontroller options. It’s one way to get loads more done.

MAXXUM. MAKES FARMING EASIER.

www.caseih.com

*Monthly payments 3 + 33, total of 36 payments. Subject to acceptance and affordability checks. New equipment only. The finance product is hire purchase. Full VAT on signing. Option-to-purchase fee of £70 (including VAT) with final payment. Customer will own machine when all payments have been made. Alternative finance options available, terms apply. A documentation fee of £120 with the first rental. Images for illustrative purposes only. Minimum deposit 10%. Finance provided by CNH Industrial Capital Europe Limited. Registered England: 3420615. Registered office: Cranes Farm Road, Basildon, Essex SS14 3AD. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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www.ilex-envirosciences.com @ Stand 7111


LAMMA 2018: Supplier Update - Tyres 9

MAKING THE MOST OF THE LATEST TYRES Between its Mitas Premium range and Cultor brand, Mitas manufacturer’s tyres to meet every farm requirement, from highhorsepower tractors and large combines to trailers and implements. Members of Fram Farmers can source these products at the best prices through the cooperative. The Mitas range includes the latest High Flexion VF tyres, which are increasingly being fitted to new tractors, while demand from the retro-fit market is increasing. But what are the benefits and how do you get the most out of the higher performance potential and soil saving properties which these tyres deliver? New-generation High Flexion VF tyres provide lower ground pressure, better traction and can run at high road speeds at lower pressures. But getting the best from them requires a different mindset, according to Kirk Walker, Technical Manager for Mitas UK. Part of the Trelleborg Group, and one of Europe’s most innovative agricultural tyre manufacturers, Mitas is a major supplier to the European plants of global manufacturers such as John Deere, CNH, Claas and AGCO. One in four new tractors and harvesters in Europe is fitted with tyres produced by Mitas, the leading European supplier of combine tyres. Mitas is also a nominated development partner for several original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). “The fundamental difference is that the sidewalls of VF tyres can deform to a much larger degree than conventional tyres without causing structural damage to the carcase,” Kirk explains. “This allows you to reduce operating pressures significantly and achieve a much bigger footprint in the field to minimise soil damage and improve traction, but then use this set-up for road work without having to re-inflate.” Like any tyre, set-up is key and although poor fuel consumption,

rapid tyre wear and reduced in-field performance can result from poor tyre management, it is an area that is still not fully understood. Kirk Walker states: “Very few operators adjust pressures between jobs. Most still set the best pressure for the road and use this in the field without realising how much soil compaction it causes and how much extra fuel it uses through reduced traction. With VF tyres, you have to think the other way around, and optimise the pressure for fieldwork knowing you can still use this on the road without problems. “Nearly 90% of all tyre warranty claims are pressure related. It’s the single biggest area when it comes to damage, with both too low and too high pressures causing irreversible deterioration in tyres. With a large cultivation tyre costing up to £5,000 it’s an area where operators really can make a big difference to costs and efficiency if they understand more about tyre management. “Individual axle weights are key to setting tyre pressures accurately, regardless of whether VF or conventional tyres are being used. Set up the tractor with the heaviest piece of kit and any front weights you will be using. Ideally you want 60% of the weight over the rear axle and 40% over the front, but the only way to do this is by measuring the weight carried by each wheel. “Using a weigh cell, you can establish the weight carried by both axles, adjust where necessary to get the 60:40 split and work back to the lowest safe working pressure for the type of tyre you have, based on the required road speed. “Once axle weights have been established, optimum tyre pressures can be calculated depending on road speed. VF tyres can typically be run at 60% of the pressure of conventional tyres for the same road speed.

“VF tyres look very different to conventional ones in operation because their considerably lower pressures can increase the footprint by 25%. Much of the deflection takes place length-wise so with a VF tyre you should aim to get three lugs on the ground with only minimal sidewall deflection. The greater the bulge on the side of the tyre, the harder it is to run in furrows and the more vulnerable the tyre is to stone damage. “As well as treading more gently, improving traction and reducing fuel consumption, a well set-up VF system can also be considerably more practical. If you are using conventional tyres correctly you really need to increase tyre pressures each time you come out of the field and this can take 35–40 minutes. But with VF tyres fitted you can go ploughing in the morning, then haul a grain trailer on the road in the afternoon without having to adjust anything. In addition to all the other benefits, the saving in downtime is considerable, making them the perfect choice for farmers and contractors.”

Mitas UK offer a set up and balancing service with all complete sets of tractor tyres fitted. For more information please call 01332 527243 or speak to Tom Mountain, Machinery Buyer, Fram Farmers on 01728 727719.

Mitas will be on stand G37 at LAMMA 2018.


10 Supplier Update - Fertilisers

FIRST ALL-WEATHER INTEGRATED FERTILISER IS ALREADY POPULAR WITH MEMBERS

Manufactured by SKW Stickstoffwerke Piesteritz GmbH, Germany’s largest producer of ammonia and urea, and a specialist in stabilised urea products, ALZON® neo-N is marketed in the UK by Gleadell Agriculture, who unloaded the first cargo at Immingham in October, with more planned to meet rising demand. ALZON® neo-N, the first integrated all-weather fertiliser, is highly effective regardless of conditions, cost-effective and kind to the environment. It incorporates two new, extremely efficient nitrogen stabilisers which ensure that the nitrogen it contains is protected against all potential losses and is highly available. This adds security to nitrogen applications, increases yields, improves

nitrogen utilisation and generates significant environmental benefits. Trials by the Scottish Agricultural College and leading farming company Velcourt in 2017 found that the product’s performance equals that of Ammonium Nitrate, but with a lower cost per kgN and significant other benefits. ALZON® neo-N’s integrated inhibitor system, for example, can reduce nitrate leaching by up to 50%, nitrous oxide emissions by up to 75%, and prevent ammonia losses almost completely. This is vital, because the UK has set ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which will continue long after the UK has left the EU. Under the EU’s National Emissions Ceiling Directive, updated in December 2016, the UK has signed up to reducing five key pollutants, including ammonia. In Germany, where legislation is already agreed, from 2020 farmers must either inject ureabased fertilisers or use products which include an inhibitor to reduce ammonia emissions. ALZON® neo-N can be applied in one dose at the start of the growing season,

or 50–60 % then 40–50 % later. This is a huge advantage as the frequency of dry periods increases. The few damp periods of weather can be used in a targeted way to encourage ammonium nitrogen into the root area, where it is available to meet the plant’s needs but protected from leaching. ALZON® neo-N pays off in many ways. It does not matter whether it is too dry or too wet: the all-weather fertiliser provides much greater flexibility in application timing, saves time and money, whilst guaranteeing high yields, good crop quality and higher N-uptake. The high nutrient content in ALZON® neo-N also provides additional benefits in relation to transport, storage, handling and spreading.

Security whatever the weather!

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ALZON® neo-N is a new granular 46% N urea fertiliser which is the world’s most advanced form of stabilised nitrogen. Of consistently high quality, it is already proving popular with Fram Farmers members’.

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Crop Nutrition 11

YEN TRIAL HIGHLIGHTS IMPORTANCE OF MICRONUTRIENTS FOR OSR At the invitation of Fram Farmers and our crop marketing partner ADM Direct, a sponsor of the Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) project, Ilex Envirosciences took part in the 2017 Oilseed YEN trial, creating a bespoke nutrition programme which significantly increased the crop’s yield and profitability. The purpose of the Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) is to help members to close the gap between their crops’ current and potential yields. The concept is that to understand yields, crops should be regarded as converters of solar energy into edible energy and their performance analysed accordingly to highlight the limiting factors. The approach is to consider the yield potential of the season and compare it to the actual yield achieved by looking at the development of a given crop, the basic resources available to it in terms of light energy and water, then to assess its success in capturing these and using them to form seed.   The biophysical potential of oilseed rape crops is set by incident light energy, rainfall and soil water storage, so in most regions of the UK the potential is there for oilseed rape to yield around 9t/ ha. Leading growers often achieve over 5t/ha, but the UK average has been languishing around 3t/ha for a decade, highlighting the ‘technology gap’ in a crop where new techniques are needed to convert its bio-physical potential into increased yield. Fram Farmers and ADM were interested in exploring the potential impact that micronutrients might have on oilseed rape yields, and invited Ilex Envirosciences to participate. A family-run British company, it has over 15 years’ experience in manufacturing bespoke crop-specific nutrition products. The company is a pioneer in the use of phosphite technology and plant

biostimulant activators to enhance nutrient use efficiency in foliar fertilisers and nutrient seed treatments. It uses the latest developments in plant science and nutrition, combined with the highest grade raw materials in advanced formulations, to deliver nutrition in forms which are most readily available to plants. Ilex continues to grow and says that the high level of repeat business underlines the effectiveness of its products. Working closely with independent agronomists and through organisations such as Fram Farmers, Ilex supplies UK farmers and growers with a comprehensive range of easy-to-use concentrated foliar fertilisers and seed treatments that optimise plant health and crop performance, with maximum efficiency and minimum environmental impact. TAILORED NUTRITION PACKAGE The YEN 13-acre site at J. A. Styles’ Bocking Hall Farm, Helmingham in Suffolk was drilled with the OSR variety KWS Campus, with Ilex supplying a range of products to enhance yield and increase profit, the success of this strategy being confirmed at harvest. “A key objective was to achieve good root development and strong crop establishment in a region where the soil is naturally deficient in Boron, so we applied 1.75l/ha of OilSeed Raiser, a tailored phosphite-based nutrient costing £11.80/ha, between the four to six-true leaves stages in October,” John Allen, the company’s Sales Manager explains. OilSeed Raiser is a concentrated foliar nutrient solution based on proven Phosphite (PO3) technology combined with a tailored nutrient package to help oilseed rape crops reach their full potential. Its unique formulation of macro and micronutrients has been specifically designed to boost growth, particularly during the key establishment period. Essentially a brassica, oilseed rape has a nutritional requirement which is substantially different to that of other arable crops. For example, compared with cereals, oilseed rape requires up to 600% more Boron, 300% more Calcium, 300% more Molybdenum and 200% more Zinc. The early application of vital nutrients, combined with the bio-stimulating action of the phosphite component in OilSeed Raiser, promotes both growth and activity in the plant’s own natural defence systems. A well-fed crop with robust, healthy roots and leaves will have an increased natural ability to overcome disease, pests and stress.

Ilex recommend that OilSeed Raiser is applied to oilseed rape during the early stages of growth in the autumn to help the crop overcome pest attack or other stress factors that put it under pressure. Further applications can be made at any time from early spring to maintain healthy plant growth and alleviate symptoms of physiological and nutritional stress. In March, the YEN crop received another 1.75l/ha of OilSeed Raiser at £11.80/ha, together with 1.75l/ha of Boron 15% (£11.62/ha). Also included in the tank mix was Ilex’s ModipHy Xtra, a dual-action water conditioner which optimises the pH level to maintain the activity of spray solutions and maximise their uptake and performance in the plant. ModipHy Xtra results in more consistent product performance over a broad range of spraying conditions and crop situations, is widely compatible and suitable for use with most commonly-applied agrochemicals and foliar nutrients. In March and April, a combination of MnPlus (0.5l/ha@£6.60/ha), MagPlus (2.0l/ ha@£11.40) and ModipHy Xtra (450ml/ ha@£4.80/ha) were applied to counter Manganese and Magnesium deficiencies. At the start of the pod fill in June, Ilex Foliar Boost went on at 1.75l/ha, costing £9.32/ha, to maintain the crop canopy and optimise pod fill. The total cost of the products used in this programme amounted to £69.74/ha, although this did include the manganese and magnesium treatments which would have been applied as part of the farm’s normal programme. Take these out and the additional cost of the Ilex programme amounted to £51.74/ha. Where the farm’s normal nutrition programme was used, the crop yielded 4.071 t/ha, compared with 4.742 t/ha in the Ilex-treated area, representing an additional 0.671 t/ha. Based on an OSR price of £315/t, the value of the additional crop amounted to £211.36/ha, which less the £51.74/ha cost of the programme generated an increased profit of £159.62/ha.


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Agronomy 13

LATEST MEMBER OF APEX AGRONOMY TEAM IS COMMITTED TO INDEPENDENT AGRONOMY As farms become larger and busier the role of the agronomist is becoming increasingly important, says Chris Nottingham, the latest member of the team at Apex Agronomy, an affiliation of fully-independent professional agronomists who provide agronomy services on over 100,000 acres in East Anglia.

Chris Nottingham

Chris Nottingham is a BASIS, FACTS, BASIS/LEAF ICM and BETA qualified agronomist whose 19 years’ experience ranges from vegetable agronomy to direct drilling systems. Together with his Apex Agronomy colleagues, Chris has a lot of involvement with Fram Farmers, including issues such as assessing seasonal demand, product planning and product feedback.

Having studied English, French and History at A level Chris knew nothing about the subject when he left school, but his mother’s family farmed in Suffolk and he liked the idea of a career in agriculture. Prior to attending Agricultural College Chris worked on a mixed farm in Suffolk and there met well-known independent agronomist Simon Draper, who sparked his future interest in the subject. While studying at Harper Adams, Chris had the opportunity to work on a 1000-cow dairy unit in New Zealand, which provided his first taste of this fascinating country, before returning to gain a BSc (Hons) in Agriculture. However in 1992, Chris’ first role was as a Plant Health and Seeds Inspector with MAFF (now Defra) based in East Yorkshire, partly involved in seed potato classification on the Yorkshire Wolds and cereal seed certification across East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire. After six years in that role, Chris joined ADAS Arable Ltd, the arable consultancy arm of ADAS, as an agronomist and the following year was fortunate to take on a large client base from one of the existing team who was emigrating to New Zealand. This was a tremendous opportunity and gave him a significant start in an industry where it is very difficult to gain a foothold and build up clients until you have solid experience.

In 2004, when the business was bought by The Arable Group (TAG), Chris transferred over and remained there for four years, delivering agronomy on some 5670ha of cropping, mostly a ‘full agronomy’ service with responsibility for all crop inputs. In 2005, his wife Roz expressed an interest in going to New Zealand and the couple spent a month touring the country. In 2008 Roz saw an agronomy role advertised in New Zealand and a few months later they had to decide whether to give up well-established jobs in the UK for a new life on the other side of the world. With New Zealand’s agricultural sector thriving on the back of a massive upturn in grain prices, Chris went to work as Senior Cereal Agronomist for PGG Wrightson in Canterbury on the country’s South Island, where most of the cereal production is based. While Chris had never envisaged working other than in the independent sector, the role was a purely technical one providing technical support to field representatives of this large company, conducting research trials into the company’s new cereal cultivars and providing a technical subscription package to farmers, so Chris was entirely comfortable delivering this role. Although there are many similarities with the UK, sunshine levels in New Zealand are much higher, with more extremes of rainfall, temperature, wind and even hail, together with huge variations between irrigated and unirrigated crops in terms of agronomy and performance. All these combined to provide an interesting challenge. After three and a half years, Chris was offered an agronomy role with A. S. Wilcox & Sons Ltd, a large-scale vegetable growing company on North Island. Based in Pukekohe, the company farms in three locations. Here, Chris had agronomic responsibility for the onion, carrot, beetroot and cereal crops grown on the volcanic soils in the Pukekohe area. He provided technical support for carrot and onion production in the second of the farming company’s location slightly further

south, while his remit also extended to cereal and maize crops in the third of the company’s farming locations, high up in the central North Island National Park, under the Mount Ruapehu volcano. Part of his role with the company was to design and implement its research trials, which were largely focussed on improving crop yields and quality as well as overhauling the company’s spray application process. He provided cereal crop assistance to another grower with whom A. S. Wilcox cooperated closely and ran a small private consultancy business providing arable crop agronomy in South Island. Working in New Zealand was a fascinating experience and Chris learned a lot in his time there, but in 2015 he and his brother inherited a 200-acre farm at Blaxhall on the Suffolk coast and he returned to the UK for this and family reasons. With limited irrigation available and significant investment required, the brothers decided to sell most of the land and Chris worked in vegetable agronomy before joining Apex Agronomy to resume arable agronomy in August 2017. The Apex Agronomy model of collaborating on a regular basis through meetings and technical briefings as well as sharing of ideas, observations and experiences to ensure a high level of technical competence greatly appealed to Chris, and he is enjoying being part of the group. With vast experience of different farming systems and crops in different counties and climates, Chris is enjoying putting this experience to good use in East Anglia. The challenges of farming with fewer ag-chem options, weeds such as blackgrass becoming more prevalent even on lighter land where herbicide alone will not provide the answer, together with new pest and disease issues, mean that agronomy is a never-ending challenge. One where minimising the use of products and managing their use from a resistance viewpoint will be ever more important and require an ever-closer relationship between farmers and agronomists.

Chris’ old stamping ground - the distinctive volcanic red soils of Pukekohe, New Zealand (Photography - Auckland Photo News)


14 Supplier Update - Herbicides

MONOLITH: NEW FOR SPRING BLACK-GRASS CONTROL. Is it effective against resistant black-grass? Monolith is based on mesosulfuron, the same main active as Atlantis, so it won’t transform the situation with resistant populations. However, the co-formulation with propoxycarbazone offers 10% uplift in control, even on populations with metabolic resistance. If cultural controls are keeping populations at manageable levels, Monolith provides excellent crop control of black-grass. Ella Crawford

Commercial Technical Manager

Last month, Bayer launched its latest post-emergence herbicide, Monolith. For controlling black-grass in winter wheat, Monolith is the successor to Atlantis WG and offers a step up in control compared to its predecessor. Bayer’s Ella Crawford told Farmers First the main things you need to know about this new herbicide. What is in Monolith? Monolith is a formulation of mesosulfuron and propoxycarbazone. Our development team selected these actives because they are both active against grass weeds such as black-grass. What does Monolith control? First and foremost, Monolith is for post-emergence black-grass control in spring. Surveys and research consistently show that black-grass is the number one agronomic problem for farmers so we developed Monolith in response. Of course, many grass weeds have similar characteristics so herbicides often work across a spectrum of weeds. Monolith is no exception and gives excellent control of bromes, rye-grasses and meadow grasses too. What level of black-grass control can I expect? Across 17 replicated trials, Monolith averaged 75% control of black-grass with a range from 50–97%. Crucially, this was 10% greater total control than Atlantis (mesosulfuron + iodosulfuron) in the same trials. At first glance, 10% may not seem an enormous difference but it means less competition for your crop and fewer seeds returned for the following seasons.

Where and when can I use Monolith? Monolith is for spring applications in winter wheat crops. In this instance spring means from the 1 February and when the crop is at the first tiller stage until 2nd node detectable (GS21–32). Uptake is mainly through the shoots and there needs to be some active growth for the herbicide to take effect. Like other Bayer post-ems, applying Monolith when the target weed is small increases the overall level of control but conditions need to be right. Applying in cold or wet conditions when there is no active growth is not advisable as control provided will be reduced. Have you got any advice for Monolith application? It’s often said that the control from herbicides is 50% chemistry and 50% application and Monolith is no different. The herbicide needs to land on the target leaf so it settles, dries and is taken in by the plant. Use a fine spray, possibly finemedium in breezy conditions. Generally, the flat fan type nozzle is the best option for achieving this. All the best practice advice which applied to Atlantis also applies to Monolith; forward speeds should be a maximum 12km/h so that the sprayer boom stays stable and prevents drift. Application timing may affect your choice of water volumes. At earlier growth stages when crops are more open spray volumes up to 200 L/ha are enough but as the crop thickens control may be reduced due to poor contact with the target weed. All applications should include 1 L/ha of the adjuvant biopower. There is also the option to include 0.3 L/ha Liberator (flufenacet + diflufenican) as a residual partner if you are expecting further spring germination of grass weeds.

Will Atlantis still be available? This season, there will still be Atlantis available but, long-term, Bayer sees Monolith as the future of spring blackgrass control. In spring 2018, we would like growers to use Monolith at least on some areas to get an idea of the control it provides. Last year you launched Hamlet as a replacement to Atlantis so what’s the difference between Monolith and Hamlet? Both products control black-grass in winter wheat crops but Hamlet (mesosulfuron + iodosulfuron + diflufenican) is for autumn and winter and Monolith is for use in spring. You can only apply one of these products to a wheat crop each season. There is a potential crossover in the application window for both products during February but growers planning a February application should opt for Monolith to give them flexibility to apply later if application conditions aren’t there. For more information, contact: Ella Crawford, Commercial Technical Manager Tel: +44 1223 226500 Mobile: +44 7920295344 E-mail: ella.crawford@bayer.com Bob FitzGerald, Farm Business Manager Tel: +44 1347 878154 Mobile: +44 7968 856709 E-mail: bob.fitzgerald@bayer.com


Hummingbird Drone 15

NEW DRONE SERVICES ADDED Flyibot has been providing aerial imaging and drone services to Fram Farmers members for some time. They have now teamed up with Hummingbird Technologies, a drone based data and imagery analytics business for farmers interested in precision agriculture. The service can now provide precise weed mapping, early detection of crop diseases and plant growth monitoring. Together with accurate yield forecasting, the data can be used to optimise planting and nutrient application and inform investment decisions. Costs vary depending on the service required but typically come in at between £2-5 per Ha/per flight. All flights come with NDVI mapping, yield prediction, weather-based disease probability models, bi-weekly satellite surveys and Gatekeeper compatible shapefile map exports. The next edition of Farmers First will include further information and case studies. For further details contact Kevin Snell 07730 261985 kevin@flyibot.co.uk hummingbirdtech.com

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16 Insurance Update

A FAMILIAR FACE BEHIND FRAM FARMERS INSURANCE based in Ipswich. Having completed her Business Degree at Coventry University, Jemma worked for a landscaping and gardening service company in Norfolk, where she was responsible for the accounting and administrative side of the business. After three years she moved to a local manufacturing business, where her role encompassed everything from managing the office, to scheduling production and coordinating the logistics of shipping finished products to customers throughout the world. Jemma came to work for Fram Farmers in February 2014 on a temporary contract to assist with the BT billing, and became a permanent member of the team two months later in the role of Telecoms Buyer. A year later she moved to the Machinery Department as Machinery Buyer, a role which she thoroughly enjoyed and fulfilled for three years, mentoring Tom Mountain who has now taken over that position. Jemma Neesham

Insurance Account Officer Jemma Neesham is passionate about horses and ‘nuts about sport’, from weightlifting to running half-marathons

Jemma Neesham, who many members will know from her time as Fram Farmers’ Machinery Buyer, has taken on a new role of Insurance Account Officer for Fram Farmers Insurance, replacing Lydia Shutler who is going travelling with her husband in the New Year. Jemma will now be responsible for managing the relationship between Fram Farmers Insurance and our insurance partner, Andrew Thompson & Associates (AT&A), a commercial broker

BEST PRICES As Insurance Account Officer, Jemma will ensure that members continue to receive first-class support by working closely with AT&A’s insurance experts to fully understand insurance requirements. Visiting members throughout the country, Jemma will highlight the benefits of Fram Farmers Insurance, ensure that the correct type and level of cover is in place, no matter how individual the requirements, and obtain the best prices that the insurance market can offer. “Throughout my career I have worked in customer-focused roles and developed my appreciation of the need to deliver excellent customer service,” Jemma explains. “I love working for Fram Farmers

because of its cooperative ethos and sense of community, so my new role provides an excellent opportunity to combine a new challenge with career progression. Whereas previously most of my time was spent dealing with suppliers, I will now be working more closely with Fram Farmers’ members, which I look forward to.” HIGH RENEWAL RATE “This is an exciting time for Fram Farmers Insurance. Although the business has seen remarkable growth since it was launched in 2015, it is still in its infancy and has exceptional growth potential. What gave me the confidence to accept the position was the exceptionally high policy renewal rate, which shows just how much the service benefits our members, and underlines the trust they have in the service we provide as well as the commitment of the AT&A team.” Fram Farmers Insurance is proving very popular and is totally focussed on doing what is best for members. It saves them an average of 30% on their premiums, as well as significant time, and ensures that the correct type and level of cover is in place. Members appreciate being able to deal with the Fram Farmers team who are easily available, know their business and provide a personal service, rather than having to go through a remote call centre. Cover ranges from personal travel and single vehicle insurance right up to policies for the most complex farming businesses. The service works with several specialist farm and motor insurers, because only by going out to the market through a broker can you be certain of obtaining best value. This also happens when the policy comes up for renewal, so the cover provided represents best value and remains relevant. A key component of Fram Farmers Insurance is ‘Rural Protect’ management liability cover, which provides personal and corporate cover for legal expenses, awards and settlements*. Amongst the many benefits is a pro-active advice service covering information and guidance on an unrivalled range of legal and regulatory issues that cause directors concern, together with a 24/7 crisis legal helpline and much more. *Terms & Conditions apply

For further details contact Jemma Neesham 01728 727721 insurance@framfarmers.co.uk


Director Profile - Karen Hester 17

NEW DIRECTOR BRINGS A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE TO THE FRAM FARMERS BOARD Karen Hester, who was elected to Full Board Directorship at Fram Farmers’ AGM in November, has had a remarkable career and brings a very different perspective to the cooperative. Embracing change, taking on new challenges and succeeding have characterised Karen Hester’s life, leading to some remarkable achievements. Chief Operating Officer of award-winning brewer and distiller Adnams PLC, Karen has been with the company for 29 years, was the first woman appointed to its Board since the business was founded in 1872 and is now responsible for managing a diverse operation with 520 staff and an £88 million annual turnover, that continues to expand. Established in 1872, Adnams is probably best-known as a brewer of beer in the picturesque coastal town of Southwold, Suffolk. While brewing remains at the heart

Adnams’ award-winning distribution centre in Suffolk.

of its activities, Adnams also produces a range of award-winning spirits from the same locally-sourced grains as are used to make its beers. Adnams also owns and manage pubs, inns and hotels, has retail stores across East Anglia, and operates an e-commerce website where customers can shop online. FIGHTING INJUSTICE Growing up in the village of Reydon near Southwold, Karen wanted to become a barrister or join the army. Without the money to pursue the former, she enlisted at the age of 16 and loved army life. Just 10 months later Karen was named best recruit, promoted to lance corporal and the following year became the youngest female in the UK to obtain an HGV licence. From driving trucks and ambulances to being responsible for security on The Mall in London during the wedding of

Prince Charles and Princess Diana, she accumulated a wealth of knowledge and experience in the army. But that career was short-lived. Married at 18, Karen became pregnant two years later just before being posted to Germany and the army gave her a stark choice: have an abortion or leave. Having chosen the latter, she was given 24 hours to vacate the couple’s MOD house and the image of her furniture being removed to make way for another family remains vivid in her mind. Sitting outside in the rain, her husband already in Germany, she wondered if it was just a bad dream. So strongly did Karen feel about being forced to decide between career and family that she became the first woman to take the Ministry of Defence to court for sexual discrimination. But it was a long, testing process that took six years and would not have been possible without the knowledge and support of the Rt Hon. Norman Lamb, a solicitor who subsequently became the Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk. Karen admits that it would have been easy to take the money the MOD offered to settle out of court, but she felt the situation was so unjust and wanted to have her say. She won the case, which opened the floodgates for thousands of women in a similar situation, and is the reason that combining a family with a career is now possible. This titanic struggle for justice Karen now rates as her biggest achievement, despite a career marked by continual progression and success. NEW HORIZONS When Karen joined Adnams in 1988 as a part-time cleaner working night shifts, she could never have imagined how that role would take her on a journey which has involved ever-greater responsibilities. Two years later, with her first child at nursery school, Karen decided to leave Adnams for a day job, but asked the HR manager to let her know if any vacancies became available. The following week she was offered a job in stores and procurement. She mentioned her


18 Director Profile - Karen Hester background in army transport and logistics to Adnams’ Chief Executive Andy Wood, who asked if she would be interested in moving to the transport division. Having separated from her husband in 1995, Karen needed more money and agreed to become transport clerk for another £2 an hour. In a male-dominated industry the role provided a real test, but a year later Karen was transport manager. Having realised that her experience was of significant value, Karen decided to study for a management qualification. Gaining a Certificate of Professional Competence to run a haulage business and a Diploma in Management from Lowestoft College, she was promoted to head of logistics in 2000 and subsequently customer services manager. With the issue of food sustainability coming to the fore, when the Adnams’ Distribution Centre in Southwold had to be replaced, Karen suggested building a new, environmentally-sensitive building at Reydon. After telling the Adnams Board that the project would take a year and cost £5 million, Karen opened the award-winning operation a week early and under budget. The project’s success resulted in Karen being promoted to Group Operations Director in 2007. The following year she was voted East of England Business Woman of the Year and in 2009 became

a magistrate, a role which appeals to her sense of justice. By 2011 Karen had added human resources, sales, hotels, manufacturing and Information Technology to her remit at Adnams. In 2013 she received the CBI First Women Business of the Year award in recognition of her supporting women at Adnams to reach their full potential, and in 2014 was appointed to the Adnams Board as Executive Director. From April 2015, Karen assumed responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the Adnams brewery, distillery, hotels, pubs and shops. That year, she also received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Suffolk and met Rodney Baker-Bates, Fram Farmers’ Chairman, who asked her to consider joining the Board of another company that he is involved with. However, with further responsibilities at Adnams and already on the Boards of Lowestoft Sixth Form College and Independence Matters C.I.C, a mental health charity in Norfolk, Karen decided that she could not take on additional commitments. Two years later, Rodney asked if Karen would be interested in utilising her knowledge and experience at Fram Farmers, and she became a non-executive director at the beginning of 2017. Having been involved in a fiercely competitive

business sector for almost three decades, Karen believes that the challenges of increasingly competitive global markets and the uncertainties surrounding Brexit mean that farmers will have to embrace significant change, be willing to adapt to new ways and utilise the latest technologies. VALUING PEOPLE With experience of gender discrimination throughout her life, Karen is determined to tackle inequality and injustice. She also appreciates the value of getting to know what makes people tick, and how to get the best from them by being open, honest and sincere. Willing to talk ‘to anyone about anything’, Karen derives huge satisfaction from developing the team that she has brought with her on her career journey at Adnams. Told at an early age that she would ‘never amount to anything’ Karen was faced with a stark choice: to sink or swim. She chose to swim and now, aged 55 and highly successful, advises young people starting their work/ life journey to ‘develop a good work ethic, give it everything, be the best that you can be, earn the respect of others and have fun while you are doing it’. In her leisure time, Karen enjoys spending time with her two children, three grandchildren and supporting Ipswich Town Football Club.

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Building Materials - Hattens Farm 19

FRAM FARMERS HELP TO MAKE BARN CONVERSION A REALITY Traditionally, building and maintenance work on farms is a job for the autumn and winter months, but at Hattens Farm converting a 17th Century barn is a much longer-term project. Autumn 2019 is when the Eden family reckon to put their feet up and call home a 17th Century former barn and adjacent 19th Century cow shed in the north Suffolk village of Metfield. Hattens Farm has been a member of Fram Farmers since 1960, joining the then fledgling cooperative to secure essential farm inputs at lower prices. Back then, the small dairy unit owned by Tim and Jonathan Eden’s parents supported 30 Jersey cows producing highquality milk for local markets. The cows left 12 years ago and now the 30 acres, along with 22 rented acres, produce winter wheat and spring barley. The project was 18 months in the planning, largely because the 17th Century barn was falling apart and required a historical survey, which fortunately determined that enough original timbers remained to make saving it worthwhile. In June 2016, retired civil engineer Tim, his brother Jonathan, a retired teacher, and Tim’s wife Kim, who had previously been Laboratory Manager/Technical Supervisor for RMC and worked for various civil engineering contractors, began converting the buildings into residential accommodation. Because of their enormous combined experience, they decided to do most of the work themselves, including excavating the foundations, mixing the concrete, installing the sub-base and laying the concrete over-slab to current Building Regulations specifications. Having initially set a timescale of two years they increased it to three because of the complexity. When completed, the site will comprise two residential units. The Big Barn will provide 210m2 of accommodation, including 140m2 downstairs for a kitchen, dining room, living area, snug and WC, with a double-height space up to the second floor’s two bedrooms and bathroom. The former milking parlour will provide a

Inside the Big Barn, looking through to what was the former dairy.

Tim and Kim in what will be the entrance to the single-storey section of this conversion.

single-storey, two-bedroomed conversion covering 108m2. The Big Barn’s fragile structure required sections to be lined with OSB (Oriented Strand Board) to stop it flexing, the main columns were tied in to prevent the oak frame from twisting, and the building supported while foundations were excavated, footings installed, the 225mm concrete base put down and sections of the main timbers replaced. “Tim and I have spent our lives in the construction sector, so the work itself has never bothered us, but it’s been very hard and there’s a long way to go,” Kim states. “We set a tight budget and being a member of Fram Farmers has been a wgodsend, as they have purchased almost everything required on our behalf, from bricks, blocks and insulation, to pipework and septic tanks. “The Building Materials team have done a fantastic job of sourcing materials at very good prices which we could not have obtained elsewhere. We have already ordered all the wood to complete the roof, at a set price for delivery in 2018. On top of everything else, that’s a big help in budgeting accurately and getting best value for money. “Overall, ordering through Fram Farmers rather than sourcing materials ourselves has probably saved 30% to 40%, so our budget has stretched much further. It has also saved us time and hassle in tracking down the best deals, arranging deliveries and ensuring that everything arrives on time, which has been invaluable.” Tyrone Campbell-Twells, Fram Farmers’ Building Materials Buyer, and Gemma Oliver, Purchasing Administrator, have

The range of materials supplied by Fram Farmers includes the insulation blocks between the brick walls.

After mixing all the cement and mortar used in the barn conversion project, Kim is looking forward to putting her feet up and enjoying retirement.

worked closely with Tim and Kim Eden. Gemma comments: “Not only have we been able to help source standard stock items, such as cement, bricks and blocks, but also met their requirements for more specialist items through the support of our suppliers. For example, when they needed Easi-joist flooring, Ridgeons went to the site to ensure the quote matched their requirements.” For building materials contact Tyrone or Gemma 01728 727718


Farmers First Issue 46 - Winter 2017  
Farmers First Issue 46 - Winter 2017  

News from Fram Farmers, the UK's leading farming cooperative