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Issue 54 | Winter 2019

NEW CHAIRMAN IS A FOURTH-GENERATION FARMER Andrew Read was appointed Chair of Fram Farmers at the Annual General Meeting on 21st November, taking over the role from leading City businessman Rodney Baker-Bates who joined the Board in 2010 and chaired the cooperative for four years. He states:

Previously Vice-Chairman of Fram Farmers for a year, Andrew remains a member of the Crop Marketing Pools Committee. A fourth-generation farmer at Depden in Suffolk, Andrew studied Agricultural Engineering at West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds and at Chadacre Agricultural Institute in West Suffolk before joining his family’s farming business, M. F. Read & Sons, in 1982.

In 1986 he established a bulk haulage business alongside the arable farm enterprise, adding value and efficiency to grain movements and storage. In 1990 Andrew diversified into whole farm contracting, added a further 650 acres in 1998 and two years later established a livery yard to utilise redundant farm buildings and pasture at Elms Farm. In 2010 the business entered a machinery and labour sharing venture with a neighbouring farmer to further reduce production costs. M. F. Read & Sons now operates 1,500 acres of owned, rented and contract farmed arable land, together with a livery yard for 22 horses. The business purchases almost everything it requires to operate, and markets most of what it produces, through Fram Farmers.  Chairman's Comment on page 5


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Now, for tomorrow Fram farmers DRAFT FINAL.indd 1

rewards I’ve reaped from their “ The advice have changed my business


“A key part of my role as Chair will be to ensure that Fram Farmers continues to adapt, develop and become even more commercially focussed by combining the very best attributes of a strong commercial business with true cooperative values.”

07/11/2019 12:38:39


FRAM FARMERS LOOKS TO THE FUTURE Tim Styles, Chief Operating Officer Our agricultural industry is constantly evolving, so it is imperative that Fram Farmers evolves with it. As an organisation we are strongly committed to development and progress for the benefit of our members and look to the future as we continue to progress, through collaboration and innovation, building on our 60 years of established culture, partnerships and advancements. Richard Anscombe, our former Chief Executive, left Fram Farmers on 6th September and the Board would like to express its appreciation to him for his service, leadership and commitment to both the staff and the wider membership over his nine-year tenure. He was influential in the development of Fram Farmers for close to a decade and we wish him every success in his future endeavours. We are undoubtedly entering a highly challenging period of uncertainty and change for UK Agriculture, but Fram Farmers is well prepared to capitalise fully on the exciting opportunities that will inevitably present themselves. We are focussed on the future and the search is underway for a new Chief Executive, a passionate, effective leader who will deliver real progress.

During the interim period, as Chief Operating Officer, I have taken on the responsibility of running the Group’s general operational activities, with active support from the Board and senior management team. Having worked for Fram Farmers for almost 10 years and as a Director for the last three, this move provides us with the time to recruit a new Chief Executive and for the Group to successfully transition into a new period of strategic development, under new leadership, whilst maintaining our progressive and effective performance. We are also pleased to announce that Barry Howard, who many of you know, will be joining us as Commercial Manager at the beginning of January 2020.

We remain committed to employing, retaining and developing the best team in order to deliver real value to our members. The last two successful trading years have provided us with the necessary reserves to begin delivering real system improvements, providing positive benefits to both our team and the wider membership. We have also commenced a substantial investment in IT and communications, with the ultimate objective of delivering the project within the next three years. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all members for your support and we look forward to sharing our successes with you in the future.


A highly experienced and successful trader, Barry began his career as an apprentice at Fram Farmers in 1986, gaining commercial experience across all areas of the cooperative through working in both the purchasing and grain marketing sides of the business. During this time, he developed a solid understanding of the benefits that can be derived through co-operation and the culture of a farmercontrolled business. In 2005 Barry moved on to develop his career with the global agricultural food processing and commodity trading giant, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), procuring grain and oilseeds for ADM’s UK assets. During 14 successful years with the company, Barry’s career progressed to a senior trading role and he is currently Head of Oilseeds and Pool Manager for ADM Agriculture. Despite having worked at several of ADM’s locations Barry has retained his Suffolk roots and lives close to the Framlingham office. His early involvement in working for a co-operative business was pivotal in the creation of the successful grain trading partnership between Fram Farmers and ADM, which began more than a decade ago. The combination of his experience, drive and understanding of the cooperative sector makes him an ideal fit for the next stage of Fram Farmers’ development.

Congratulations to members the Dustow family, of Colwith Farm, from Cornwall, who won Family Farming Business of the Year at the British Farming Awards, hosted by Vernon Kay. They have been growing potatoes for over 100 years on their 500 acre farm in Cornwall and it is currently run by three generations of the family, Clive, Mike and Chris. Their customers include chef Rick Stein’s chain of restaurants, a range of Cornish pasty bakeries, fish and chip shops, large processors and crisp makers. A ₤250K investment in grading and cold storage facilities allows them to produce fresh chips direct from the farm. In addition, Steve Dustow spearheaded the production of Cornwall’s first potato vodka, distilled on the farm, which was recently crowned second best vodka in the world.

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.

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COVER STORY : CHAIRMAN’S COMMENT  Continued from page 1

"I’M OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE FUTURE" Whilst not wishing to understate the challenges which farmers face, as one myself I recognise the need to look forward and be enthusiastic about the future. Fram Farmers is ideally placed to provide members not just with the best deals and services, but also access to completely impartial advice. Those are compelling reasons to be an active member. Within the team we have an excellent mix of youth and experience, everyone is willing to share their knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm, so it works incredibly well. As a member and Chairman, I couldn’t ask for more. Any company or organisation which stands still has a limited future, so Fram Farmers must continue to adapt, develop and become even more commercial by combining the best attributes of a strong commercial business with true cooperative values. Within the Board and staff there is a staggering amount of knowledge and expertise gained across a diverse range of industries and backgrounds to help us do that, a huge benefit which members should appreciate and properly value. Andrew Read, Chairman

Being Chairman of Fram Farmers is an exciting opportunity for me, even at a time of uncertainty in the farming sector. Going forward, farming businesses and those supplying them must change, as will Fram Farmers. Before going into detail, I would like to thank my predecessor Rodney Baker-Bates, who extended his tenure as Chairman for another year to help me transition into the role, also Fram Farmers’ excellent Board and staff for their support. Members are fortunate to have access to such enthusiastic, well informed, innovative individuals for a fee which represents amazing value. My own family farming business has been a member since 2005, so I know the value of being able to ‘phone them for a truly independent view.

I am passionate about farming and believe that, because people will always need food and energy, our industry has a great future. With greater collaboration, individual farming businesses, including my own, will strengthen by further reducing fixed costs and operating more efficiently as an active part of a farmerowned cooperative.I encourage you to use Fram Farmers to the full and spread the word to others so that it will continue to grow and be even better positioned to help your business to succeed in the future, whatever that might hold and whatever form it takes.


Thursday 12th December CHESHIRE PIE & PINT Statham Lodge Hotel, Statham, Lymm WA13 9BP Tuesday 21st January ESSEX PIE & PINT The Crown, Sandon, Chelmsford CM2 7SH

Thursday 30th January BURY PIE & PINT The Queen’s Head, Hawkedon, Bury St Edmunds IP29 4NN Wednesday 12th February ADM BREAKFAST Fynn Valley Farm Golf Club, Ipswich IP6 9JA Tuesday 25th February BUNGAY PIE & PINT The Buck Inn, Flixton Buck, Bungay, NR35 1NZ Thursday 23rd April SCHOOL FARM AND COUNTRY FAIR Trinity Park, Ipswich IP3 8UH Sunday 17th May ESSEX YOUNG FARMERS SHOW Boyton Hall, Roxwell Chelmsford CM1 4LT Wednesday 27th – Thursday 28th May SUFFOLK SHOW Trinity Park, Ipswich IP3 8UH Tuesday 9th June ESSEX SCHOOL FOOD & FARMING DAY Writtle University College, Chelmsford CM1 3RR

Fram Farmers is ideally placed to provide members not just with the best deals and services, but also access to completely impartial advice. Those are compelling reasons to be an active member. Whilst great advances have been made in areas such as plant breeding, machinery, technology and livestock genetics, what farmers produce hasn’t changed much. At a time when the industry is losing its traditional subsidy base this will have to come.

Ian Caley, Group Accountant, is congratulated by Andrew Read for 20 years of hard work and dedication to Fram Farmers.


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NEW PRIVATE HEALTH CARE SCHEME IS TAILOR-MADE FOR MEMBERS Members will gain access to an increased range of benefits, and even better value, from a new Private Health Care Scheme now available through Fram Farmers Insurance, a division of Fram Farmers.

Designed to provide affordable cover tailored precisely to your needs, it allows you to deal directly with us, access an immediate quote or arrange immediate cover through the Fram Farmers office, and benefit from a simple, quick and easy claims process. Whilst members previously could sign up to a private health scheme operated by BUPA through Fram Farmers, it was never at the forefront of our insurance offering. As part of a complete re-evaluation of our insurance business earlier this year, we sought to identify the most competitive healthcare scheme available and, after carefully considering the options, selected to work with Aviva, the UK’s largest insurer. A leading provider of health and protection solutions, it has been named Health Insurance Company of The Year and Best Group PMI provider on numerous occasions. The Fram Farmers Private Health Cover Scheme is operated in conjunction with our insurance partner Scrutton Bland, one of the UK’s leading insurance brokers. Privately owned, it holds long-established relationships with clients in farming and associated businesses, understands the requirements of modern farming enterprises and has developed a wide range of insurance solutions to meet their requirements. “Following the launch of Fram Farmers Insurance Services in 2018, insurance in all its forms is now a core part of the overall service which we offer to members,” Nick Hindle, Financial Controller for the Fram Farmers Group and Finance Director for Fram Farmers Insurance Services, states. “Through our partnership with Scrutton Bland, we can now provide members with bespoke health care protection covering all aspects of their business and personal requirements, at very competitive premiums which (under current regulations) are tax-deductible.” The private health care solutions which Fram Farmers offers can be tailored to suit all budgets and requirements. And don’t forget

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that getting private health cover through the company could provide significant savings compared with rates for individuals, while dealing through Fram Farmers you benefit from

the very competitive group rates which we have negotiated. Whether taking out private health cover for the first time or considering switching from  Continued on page 8

8 HEALTH INSURANCE  Continued from page 7

includes BackToBetter, an independent musculoskeletal case management service which can be accessed directly without requiring a GP referral. Designed as the most flexible policy of its type, it allows you to add additional options at extra cost or scale back the level of cover to reduce the cost, providing just the right health care for your circumstances. Every policy includes access to Aviva Digital GP, which provides on-line video consultations with NHS-qualified GPs, a 24-hour stress counselling helpline and up to 25% off gym membership.

another provider, Fram Farmers Insurance Services will provide you with expert, completely independent advice free of charge and commercial bias. The Aviva Solutions Core Cover Policy provides cover for prompt access for eligible treatment as an out-patient, day-patient or in-patient through a network of treatment providers or hospitals of your choice. It also

It also gives you access to My Aviva, which brings together the products you have chosen in one simple-to-use online space. Here you can view policy details, track excesses and out-patient benefits, start a claim, update an existing one, arrange a call back, check information relating to a claim or access other useful on-line tools, such as frequently asked questions, helpful guidance and contact information. My Aviva also provides a 20% discount on selected Aviva products* and you can even download a smartphone app to view your policies on the go. Further details from Fram Farmers Insurance Services. T: 01728 727721 E: insurance@framfarmers.co.uk *Terms & conditions apply

PRIVATE MEDICAL INSURANCE SHOULD BE A PRIORITY Having key staff absent from work can have a huge impact on small businesses and generally the fewer the number of employees the greater the impact. Whilst private health cover cannot eradicate sickness absence, it can help get you and your employees back to work more quickly by avoiding the need to join NHS waiting lists. Private health cover, also known as Private Medical Insurance (PMI), is designed to cover the cost of private medical treatments for curable, short-term illnesses or injuries, known as acute conditions. However, it can be a confusing product if you haven’t had experience of it before, and knowing exactly which cover to choose can be difficult, which is why we have teamed up with experts in this sector to offer policies which are tailor-made to members’ individual requirements. Even if you already have a Cash Plan or Income Protection Cover, it is important to realise that these are different to private health cover, as neither will cover policyholders for private medical treatment. Similarly, critical illness policies will only cover you for a limited number of specific, potentially life-changing conditions and only make a one-off payment per policy member. Private health cover pays for a much wider range of conditions and treatments.

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NEW INPUT COST MANAGER SCHEME WILL HELP MANAGE CASH FLOW Fram Farmers has responded to enquiries from members by developing its new Input Cost Manager Scheme to help farming businesses to overcome the inevitable spikes in cash-flow that occur throughout the year. Nick Hindle, Financial Controller, outlines how it works. Securing access to finance is a major issue for many businesses, and is likely to become even more critical for those in the farming sector as financial institutions tighten their lending criteria.

The new Fram Farmers Input Cost Manager Scheme is designed to help members who market grain through the cooperative to purchase any type of farm inputs through their Fram Farmers account before grain can be sold, at lower cost than they might otherwise be able to achieve. For example, when purchasing crop protection products, seeds and fertilisers, many members

will order at various peak times during the year. Using the Input Cost Manager Scheme, members who commit grain can apply to delay payment until the end of September. This scheme can be used to delay any payments, not only for arable inputs, thereby giving full flexibility to our members. As part of the arrangement, grain must be moved off the farm before the end of August so that Fram Farmers can pay the member for their grain and in turn they have funds in their account to pay the Direct Debit in September. If for any reason it is not possible to move grain by that time, payment of these invoices will have to be funded by other means. Grain trading members will be able to apply for the Input Cost Manager scheme, up to a value of £100,000 or 75% of the total value of grain committed. To qualify for the maximum amount, you would therefore have to commit grain to the value of £125,000. Fram Farmers are continually looking at ways to assist Members and this scheme has been designed with their needs in mind. We are reviewing the potential of other ways to support members’ financial needs as we appreciate the issues some face.

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Further details are available from: Nick Hindle, Financial Controller, Fram Farmers: T: 01728 727700 E: Nick.Hindle@ framfarmers.co.uk

How does the input cost manager scheme work? 1. Member contacts Fram Farmers to request joining the scheme 2. Fram Farmers review application on a case-by-case basis 3. If accepted, a credit is applied to the member’s account for the value to be delayed 4. An invoice is raised on the member’s account for the same value with the September payment along with the September Direct Debit.

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IMPROVED CONTROL THROUGH INNOVATION Evolved from cutting-edge R&D, Dublin based off-patent manufacturer Life Scientific is bringing quality crop protection products to market, providing farmers and agronomists with better options to meet their plant protection needs. We do this by developing off-patent alternatives, or by designing innovative versions of current off-patents, explains UK technical manager Ruth Stanley. “Since launching into the UK market in 2017 there are more than 12 products registered for use on UK farms, including the the only off-patent meso-sulfuron and iodosulfuron herbicides available in the UK, Cintac and Niantic.”

INNOVATION IS AT THE HEART OF EVERYTHING WE DO. “Our approach is unique; by reverse engineering active ingredients from market leading reference products we are able to bring products to market faster and more efficiently. We absolutely recognise that without the work that the large multinationals do in bringing products to market we would not exist; they invest in highly talented chemists who put an immense amount of time and skill into developing the most remarkable innovations.” “When you have a product of outstanding performance it makes no sense to redevelop it – our challenge is to break it down so we can reconstruct it.” “In this way we are confident that our products stand up to the most rigorous scientific and regulatory standards, meaning that our off patent products are as effective as the current leading standards in the market.”

BREXIT WOES Life Scientific CEO Nicola Mitchell is confident that despite concerns over Brexit, the UK arable industry is open to opportunities for innovation and growth and remains a key focus for the Dublin based company.

“We are facing a world where the growing population needs feeding alongside a decrease in the availability of good arable land and favourable growing conditions; we simply need to be producing more efficiently from what we have, “ she says. “Alongside this, the agchem market is facing increasingly onerous legislative requirements which are depressing an already stagnant discovery pipeline. However, opportunities have developed through the off-patent market, and today as much as 75% of the market is accounted for by products on which the original active ingredient (AI) patent has expired.” “This step change in the pace in which offpatent products come to market is increasingly significant in our current highly unpredictable regulatory environment,” she points out.

IMPROVING ON-FARM PERFORMANCE A key part of the Life Scientific approach is to support growers and agronomists to get the best performance from its products. With this in mind, the company invested in trials looking at how application can improve the activity of its grass and broad leaved weed herbicide Cintac. “The work was based around the fact that black-grass control was known to be application sensitive, but no previous work had been done in this area,” explains Mrs Stanley. Spray applications expert Tom Robinson has been trialling Cintac for the past two years to understand how to get the maximum weed control by using different application techniques. A number of trials have been completed both at Thurlow Estates on a field scale and at

a replicated site near Peterborough, using both hand held and self propelled application equipment. The trials looked at levels of black-grass control using four mainstream nozzles and three different boom heights. The results showed that in order to get the most out of Cintac the following application guidelines should be followed: • Water Volume 200 l/ha • Nozzle Height: Maximum 50cm above crop • Forward Speed: 12 km/h (maximum) • Nozzle Type: Defy 3D (preferred: top performance, least drift, best patternation), providing a yield benefit of 1.3t/ha over control, which is worth an extra £175.50/tonne* • 110o Fan Jet also recommended providing a yield benefit of 1.2t/ha which is worth an extra £162/tonne *Using headcount and yield loss data from Dr. Stephen Moss (formally Rothamsted Research) financial cost of treatments were based on wheat at £135/tonne “The important message to come out of these trials is that there is still control to be gained from Cintac in non-resistant black-grass situations, but these levels of control are affected by application techniques,” she says. Predicted Yield Based on a 10 t/ha Clean Crop* 8




7.5 7



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For more information about Life Scientific and its products go to https://uk.lifescientific.com/ If you would like to speak to someone, Ruth Stanley, Life Scientific UK Technical Manager will be pleased to speak to you on 07857 483193 or call the UK Freephone Technical Helpline 0800 044 5025



Traditionally, Sturmer Farms sourced beef animals on the open market, but the risks associated with this approach increased to the point where Michael and Ian considered them excessive. Partly this was because it was impossible to secure a supply of consistent animals, so cattle performance was unpredictable, and partly because the store price did not track the fat price, so profit margins were variable. In 2012, when Ian completed his Degree in Business Management & Information Science at Loughborough University, the father and son team began researching the market to better understand what was required.

Michael Sturmer (second left) and Ian Sturmer (second right) collected the Farmers Weekly ‘Beef Farmer of The Year’ Award in October. The Farmers Weekly Award judges concluded that “Sturmer Farms is an exciting example of how the beef sector could reshape itself to reduce income volatility and better produce what the market wants”. Fram Farmers agrees with that assessment and congratulates the Sturmers on this major achievement

Understanding consumers’ requirements, and transforming a low-value by-product of the dairy industry into quality beef for various markets, were just two reasons why Fram Farmers members Michael and Ian Sturmer from Chiddingly in East Sussex were named 2019 Farmers Weekly Beef Farmers of the Year. Sturmer Farms is an excellent example of how farming businesses can thrive, even in these uncertain times. Now working in partnership with seven other farmers throughout south east England, the father and son team of Michael and Ian Sturmer have created a highly efficient,

profitable cattle fattening business which produces quality beef tailored to customers’ and consumers’ requirements, on the scale that supermarket buyers require. In doing so they have created a higher-value end use for black-and-white steers which were once a byproduct of the dairy sector.

“We spoke to chefs, supermarkets, processors and industry experts to find out first-hand what each section of the supply chain needed,” Michael explains. “That process was very revealing, so we used the information to tailor a production system and supply chain to those specific requirements. Now we use dairy-bred calves which deliver consistent performance, superior meat marbling and higher eating quality with the smaller carcasses supermarkets favour.”

“We spoke to chefs, supermarkets, processors and industry experts to find out first-hand what each section of the supply chain needed. That process was very revealing.” The Sturmers finely-honed cattle supply chain, or Modular Farming Network as they call it, provides a solution to the problem of building an economically sustainable system to produce beef that consumers will value.  Continued on page 12


farms, the focus being on animal welfare and performance. Despite finishing almost 5,000 dairy-bred steers a year, Michael and Ian say their success is based on being able to closely monitor the performance of all the cattle and replicating what works across all holdings. The combination of using a single breed and an integrated approach has helped them more

accurately forecast animal performance, as well as reducing the variation in slaughter weight and age, conformation grade and fat class compared with conventional beef production systems. Addressing consumer concerns about the provenance and environmental impact of

Rib Eye steak produced from dairy-bred beef cattle raised under the Sturmers’ Modular Farming Network system.

CHOOSING PARTNER FARMS The partner farms and families were chosen for their attitude, animal husbandry and enthusiasm, as well as having an infrastructure which can be developed or adapted. Those involved maximise the potential of their farms by growing high quality grass or maize silage, building on and adapting their existing enterprise and making use of their livestock skills to run a financially viable system. This also reduces volatility, because operating on a larger scale within an integrated system enables costs to be more accurately forecast and reduced. This approach has resulted in an easy working relationship with the seven partner

“Fram Farmers is very important to our success,” Michael and Ian Sturmer state. “We source most of our inputs through the cooperative, which greatly simplifies our invoicing and accounting processes. We also work very closely with the Livestock Team for all our forward buying requirements on feed products, as it is critical to closely monitor markets and volatility so we can make an informed decision on when it is right for our business to tie into forward pricing contracts.”

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red meat, Michael and Ian have taken steps to ensure that all livestock have lifetime quality assurance and feeding data. They are also contributing to research which aims to improve the selection of cattle for eating quality traits, such as meat tenderness, flavour and colour.

composition has reduced the feed conversion ratio from 10.8:1 under the previous system to just 5.4:1. This has significantly reduced feed costs, requires fewer inputs and has significantly reduced the environmental impact of beef production, a major tick in the box at a time when the sector is in the spotlight.


Cattle then move to the main finishing unit, which the Sturmers’ directly run on an FBT. The 182-hectare farm produces maize and barley for cattle feed. Here they gain a further 120kg in eight weeks before being sent to Dunbia for slaughter at 14 months and 600kg liveweight. Currently 90 animals are finished each week, the

The first stage in the Modular Farming Network process is for an experienced calf rearer to purchase black-and-white steer calves from dairy farms throughout the region. They then rear them to five months of age, when they are purchased by Sturmer Farms and allocated to one of three independent growing units. Working in partnership with Sturmer Farms, these rear the calves until they reach 480kg, at about 11-12 months of age and 90 days from their finished weight.

average carcass deadweight being 287.2 kg, with typical grades of -O / O+4L. “We are currently conducting a large trial with our processer and the industry to investigate the most suitable beef genetics to cross over the dairy herd,” Michael outlines. “As sexed semen grows more popular, the availability of black-and-whites will reduce, but the number of beef cross dairy calves will increase. We want to maintain calving ease and short gestation to benefit the dairy farmers, whilst keeping and further improving eating quality, growth rates, feed efficiency, carcase yields and health traits.”

Cattle are grouped into lots of 45 across the farms. Feed intake is monitored for each pen every day, the aim being to deliver a ration that is fed ad-lib but cleared up. Each growing unit farm supplies its own high-quality maize and grass silage which is supplemented by barley, biscuit meal and maize distillers’ grains to produce an average daily gain of 1.4kg. On the finishing farm this is increased to 1.99kg/day by adjusting the concentrate to forage ratio. The combination of more uniform cattle, close attention to feed intake and careful ration

Ian Sturmer with some of the maize produced on their 182-hectare farm.

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Discover more at corteva.co.uk Technical Hotline: 0800 689 8899 E-mail: ukhotline@corteva.com USE PLANT PROTECTION PRODUCTS SAFELY. Always read the label and product information before use. For further information including warning phrases and symbols refer to label. Corteva Agriscience, CPC2 Capital Park, Fulbourn, Cambridge CB21 5XE. Tel: 01462 457272. ®, ™ Trademarks of DuPont, Dow AgroSciences or Pioneer and their affiliated companies or their respective owners. Astrokerb® contains aminopyralid and propyzamide.


TWO FRAM FARMERS MEMBERS WIN BASF TRIP TO AGRITECHNICA A delegation of 31 farmers attended this year’s Agritechnica Show and BASF’s research and development centres in Germany. The group had a chance to visit the internationally renowned machinery and innovation show which attracts more than 450,000 and 2,750 exhibitors from 51 countries.

The farmers joining the “Innovation Tour” were: • Neil Ramsay from Berwickshire • Steve Walton from Buckinghamshire • Andrew Melton, Guy Wakeham and Charles Leadbetter from Cambridgeshire • Iain Robertson from Dorset • Mark Stocks from East Yorkshire • Daren Bickmore, David Newton, Hugh Pegram, James Faulkner and Steve Crayston from Essex • Derek Howard and Mike Dalgarno from Hampshire • Luke Haynes, Tom Reynolds and Richard Budd from Kent • Frazer Jolly from Leicestershire • Neil Makey from Lincolnshire • Tim Dixon from Norfolk • Giles Benson from Northamptonshire

products BASF makes. “They seem to do everything; paints, insulation and oil-related products.

• Colin Woodward from Oxfordshire

• Andrew Williamson from Shropshire

Two Fram Farmers’ members joined the trip.

“As a grower it made me realise how important each bit of chemistry is and how little we will have coming through in the future.”

Robert Dyball said that he hadn’t been to Agritechnica before but was particularly keen to see crop robotics in action, alongside the other tools that farmers are going to be using in the future.

Hugo Pryce, BASF’s Suffolk-based Agronomy Manager added: “We all had a fascinating time at Agritechnica, and I think that the visits to the BASF sites was also really informative for the famers.”

Of BASF, he said that he had no idea of the scale of the company, the sectors it’s involved in, nor of the scope of the R&D that is undertaken into agricultural developments.

“They all said that for them to see the process we go through to get one product to market gives all of us an understanding of what it takes to market and why our products need to be more expensive than the generics on the market.”

For those lucky enough to join the ‘Innovation Tour’, there was also a visit to BASF’s headquarters to hear about plant breeding, on-farm trials and the company’s new cereal fungicide, Revysol.

“Looking round the product trials in BASF’s greenhouses, I was very impressed by the scale,” he said. “For example, I had no idea that they start with 140,000 active ingredients to get to the one that is of use in the field, this was very impressive.” Sam Steward, the other Fram member who farms a stone’s throw from the Fram offices, said that he had no idea of the range of

“It was also a great time to travel, just ahead of the launch of Revysol, with the loss of chlorothalonil, the timing couldn’t be more important to every cereal grower in the UK.” The 31 farmers who went on the trip won their place as a result of scanning their cans of Adexar and Librax cereal fungicides.

• David Fuller-Shapcott from Roxburghshire • Madeline Pow from Somerset • Chris Bull, Robert Dyball and Samuel Steward from Suffolk • Richard McAllister • Nigel Richards • Scott Taylor For further information or any queries on BASF products, please do not hesitate to contact your local BASF Agronomy Manager Matthew Keane on 07901 611115 and Matt will be delighted to help you.



EXCELLENT GRANTS AVAILABLE TO CREATE NEW WOODLAND The launch of the Government’s £50m Woodland Carbon Guarantee Scheme on 4th November is designed to help boost tree planting rates in the fight against climate change, by encouraging farmers and landowners to plant more trees and create new woodland in return for payments as those trees grow. Many other advantageous grants are available for the creation of new woodland, and the Forestry Commission says there has never been a better time to consider planting. If you are, then trees and ancillary items can be purchased through the Fram Farmers office. As new woodlands become established the biodiversity of the farm increases, with the added provision of feed and cover for wildlife. In time the woodland will become even more productive and able to supply various commodities, such as firewood/woodchips which will reduce domestic heating or grain drying costs, together with fence posts and quality timber. There are currently many concerns regarding spray drift, water quality and flood management. These can be addressed by establishing strategic planting areas near streams and rivers, thereby avoiding farming activities directly adjacent to water courses.

The range of grants available are outlined below.

COUNTRYSIDE STEWARDSHIP WOODLAND CREATION GRANT This pays for trees, together with any associated protection items, and provides financial support towards infrastructure projects to help with the establishment of new woodland. It is capped at £6,800 per hectare for capital items covering both planting and protection, which can include both individual tree protection and fencing materials. Once the woodland is planted and the final capital claim is paid, applicants can apply for a separate Woodland Creation Maintenance Grant, a multi-year payment of £200 per hectare for 10 years to maintain the new woodland. Generally, the minimum planting area per application is 3 hectares, with a minimum block size of 0.5ha and a minimum width of 20 metres. However, if planting as part of measures for water quality or Natural Flood Management then the minimum planting area is 1 ha, the minimum block size is 0.1 ha and the minimum width is 10 metres. It is important that applicants work with their Forestry Commission Woodland Officer to ensure they understand what is required and prepare an eligible application to create the woodland they want. The grant is open to owner occupiers, tenants, landlords and licensors who have control of all the land and all the activities needed to meet the obligations of the grant for the full duration of the agreement. Areas currently in ES must either be removed, or the current ES scheme allowed to expire before a Stewardship Woodland Creation Grant reaches final approval. Full details are available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/ countryside-stewardship-woodland-creationgrant-manual-2018

WOODLAND CARBON CODE This is the UK’s voluntary carbon standard for woodland creation projects. If you demonstrate that you meet this standard, then you can sell the carbon sequestered in your woodland in the form of Woodland Carbon Units. A ‘Standard Project’ can be any size and constitute several blocks of woodland with planting spanning up to five consecutive planting seasons; blocks of woodland must be part of a contiguous land ownership unit or under the same ownership and management plan. ‘Small projects’ have the same definition as a standard project, but with five hectares net planting area or less. More details are available at: www.gov.uk/guidance/the-woodland-carboncode-scheme-for-buyers-and-landowners.


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Available from the Forestry Commission to support woodland planting on a larger scale, with a minimum total planting area of 10ha. The scheme offers capital funding for the creation of new productive woodland for carbon sequestration, including the planting of trees and costs of protection items such as tree guards, fencing and gates. You can also get funding for the installation of forest roads and recreational infrastructure.

Building & Agricultural Merchants

A one-off capital payment of £1,000 per hectare is available in year 5 following successful establishment. Applicants to the Woodland Carbon Fund may still be eligible to receive funding under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) for the length of the WCF agreement, subject to meeting BPS eligibility criteria. The standard length of a WCF agreement is five years, however, where an agreement includes a second stage payment the agreement length extends to 10 years. For more details go to: www.gov.uk/guidance/woodland-carbon-fund or email: wcf@forestrycommission.gov.uk

HS2 WOODLAND FUND Galvanised Gates

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Available from the Forestry Commission to support native broadleaf woodland creation and the restoration of Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites. The fund has £4 million to commit over four planting seasons. It is geographically targeted to landowners within 25 miles of the HS2 Phase One route from London to the West Midlands. Further details can be found at: www.gov.uk/guidance/hs2-woodland-fund or email: hs2woodlandfund@forestrycommission.gov.uk For further guidance and assistance with a woodland creation grant application, contact your local Forestry Commission Woodland Officer by emailing the East and East Midlands Team at eastandeastmidlandsteam@forestrycommission.gov.uk. Alternatively, visit www.gov.uk/government/organisations/forestry-commission/about/ access-and-opening#east-and-east-midlands Members can obtain further information from the Fram Farmers Office on 01728 727700.

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SERVICE AND PRICES IMPRESS DAIRY FARMER IN HOLIDAY LET DEVELOPMENT ACHIEVING A VISION “This was the first project that I have managed myself, rather than employing a contractor to do it for me,” Deborah states. “It took longer than I thought, partly because I had to juggle my time between finding and dealing with a number of individual tradesmen while looking after our two sons who are home-schooled. In the early stages of the build I spent three days a week on site but from March to July was there full time. The advantage of doing it that way was that I achieved exactly the result that I had envisaged, rather than having to settle for someone else’s interpretation of what I wanted.”

When entrepreneur Deborah Pryor developed an exclusive holiday let in Cornwall, she sourced most of the materials for the build through Fram Farmers, with significant benefits. “Being a member of Fram Farmers is like having my own personal assistant. It made my life so much easier and less stressful while I was developing my latest holiday let in Portloe,” Deborah states. “I couldn’t believe the level of service which I received from the cooperative in return for a small membership fee. It seemed too good to be true and was certainly the best money I have ever spent.” Situated on the Roseland Peninsular near Truro, Portloe is one of the prettiest and least spoiled

villages in the country. With local amenities such as the exclusive Lugger Hotel and restaurant at the top of the harbour slipway, it is a popular destination for those looking to swap the pressures of everyday life for the peace and quiet of the countryside.

THE RIGHT PRODUCT “Portloe is a very exclusive area and full of second homes, but few of them are rented so there is a shortage of high-quality properties to

let,” Deborah explains. “I know the market in this area very well. For this new project to be successful it had to supply the right product for people who could afford to stay in a high-end hotel, but prefer their own space. The aim was to create an intimate, relaxed feel which would appeal to those who lead busy lives and want to get away from it all in beautiful surroundings.” A chartered surveyor, Deborah set up her own property company, Pryor Properties Ltd, with her husband Nathan, a local dairy farmer, in 2005. In 2010, they developed a large holiday let at Portleven, the most southerly working port in the UK, then in 2016 purchased an eightacre plot with a derelict barn but no planning permission at Portloe. Following a successful application, the build started in May 2018, and was completed in July 2019, The first paying guests stayed there the following month.


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AN IMPRESSIVE EXPERIENCE Deborah attributes part of the project’s successful outcome to Fram Farmers, which she contacted on the advice of her husband, who joined the cooperative four years ago and now uses it to source most of the inputs required to operate the family’s dairy farm. “Nathan remembered reading about how the cooperative supplies all types of building materials in a Fram Farmers newsletter. Knowing how much time and money he saves by sourcing inputs through the cooperative, he

suggested that going through Fram Farmers would make my project much easier and ensure that we got the best deals and service for the materials we needed. “For very little cost I set up a sub-account to keep all the costs separate and off we went. I gave Nick (Nick Millar, Fram Farmers Building Materials Buyer) a shopping list of what we required and very quickly he came back with three quotes for everything, including timber, insulation, roofing materials, fittings - even a storage container to keep everything safe.

Set in rolling fields within sight of the sea yet out of view ‘Heidi’, as the property is affectionately known, blends perfectly into its surroundings, with simple design and natural materials used in its construction. Providing families and couples with luxury selfcatering accommodation in a stunning setting, ‘Heidi’ is marketed exclusively through Unique Home Stays (www.uniquehomestays.com or T:+44(0) 1637 881183). Deborah chose the agency because it only markets real homes that truly inspire them, offering clients unique access to the most exclusive private homes which reflect a true flavour of the owner.

“Nick has been an absolute star and I can’t thank him or Fram Farmers enough. The whole experience has been very impressive, and I would highly recommend anyone who is planning any type of building project to source everything they can through the cooperative. I certainly will when I find my next one.” For further information about how Fram Farmers can help with your next building project contact Nick Millar, Building Materials Buyer on 01728 727700 or email Nick.Millar@framfarmers.co.uk


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EVERYONE BENEFITS WHEN EMPLOYERS PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE NEXT GENERATION Providing work placement and apprenticeship opportunities generates enormous benefits for businesses and the individuals involved. Employers can tap into a tremendous pool of future talent by offering work experience, work placement and apprenticeship opportunities to foster the skills, abilities and interests of those who participate. School-leavers often do not know what career path they want to follow. Whilst a degree remains the goal for many, others may benefit more from an apprenticeship tailored to their specific interests and talents. Since joining Fram Farmers four years ago, having previously worked for large financial institution in London, Fram Farmers’ HR Manager, Sarah Snell, has introduced work experience opportunities for those at school, year-long placements for degree students and apprenticeships for others who wish to take this route into employment. Sarah engages closely with a range of educational establishments throughout the country, to help attract, develop and retain the next generation of staff.

we require to operate a cutting-edge farmers’ cooperative. Consequently, we benefit from investing in young people, because by being able to teach and mould individuals with the desire, aptitude and confidence to progress their career, we can develop more skilled, tailored staff.

“There is a huge amount of satisfaction in ‘growing your own’ and seeing young people motivated, learning, achieving, gaining confidence and developing people skills.”

Sarah Snell, Human Resources Manager

“Companies qualify for significant financial support from the government and colleges, making the whole recruitment process simple, so there are few excuses not to offer these opportunities, which encourage the whole team to develop and take responsibility for helping individuals fulfil their goals and ambitions.” Fram Farmers’ reputation as ‘a great place to work’ was further acknowledged by winning ‘Ambassador of The Year’ Award from Easton & Otley College back in the Spring.  Continued on page 20


“The starting point is often to explain what Fram Farmers is and what it does and the variety of career opportunities we have available”, says Sarah “I also outline how the cooperative encourages career development, provides a nurturing environment in which they can further their knowledge, how they will benefit from ‘buddy’ schemes and mentorship programmes, as well as having the opportunity to progress their education whilst earning. That enables them to visualise an interesting, varied and rewarding long-term future with an organisation they might not otherwise consider. “When assessing potential candidates, I look not just at their qualifications but also for evidence of their drive, determination and desire to succeed, including what they have done to develop their knowledge and wider life experiences.”

TAILOR-MADE WORKFORCE Members might reasonably ask why Fram Farmers doesn’t just recruit staff who are already qualified and trained. “The answer is simple,” states Sarah. “In our own case it can be quite challenging to obtain the specific skills

Sarah Snell attended the Careers and Placement Fair 2019 at Harper Adams University in November. Boasting over 135 employers, the event gives students the chance to seek out working opportunities from vacation work to graduate opportunities. She also went to the equivalent event at the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester.

20 APPRENTICESHIPS  Continued from page 19

DETERMINED, TALENTED INDIVIDUALS Fram Farmers has invested significant effort and resources into encouraging apprenticeships and placements over the last four years, it has seen the value in this approach and the results have been excellent. The Group has gained valuable, full-time employees who are at the start of their career and have a great future. They benefit from above average earnings, continued career development, together with further education and qualification opportunities to keep them motivated, allowing them to develop their career without having to ‘move on’. “I now receive many more applications than we have positions available,” Sarah points out, “so we can recruit the most determined, talented individuals. The initiatives which I have outlined directly benefit Fram Farmers and its members, so I encourage those of you who employ staff to adopt a similar approach, because ultimately it will also benefit your businesses.”

Further details from Sarah Snell at Fram Farmers on 01728 727700.

Here's proof that providing opportunities works Several members of the Fram Farmers team are in their current roles as a result of initiatives to encourage new talent. They include:

Gemma Oliver completed her Business Administration Apprenticeship in September 2018 and now works as a Purchasing Administrator in our General Farming Inputs (GFI) team.

Rachel Cooper, who joined the Arable Inputs Team as an Arable Administrator, started a Business Administration Apprenticeship in September 2019.

Holly Hicks, who works in our IT/Communications Support team, is currently halfway through the Business Administration Apprenticeship which she started in January 2019.

Ted Hurren recently started an IT Infrastructure Technician Apprenticeship and works as a Support Technician in our IT and Communications Team.

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MACHINERY OFFERING BOOSTED WITH EXCLUSIVE PARTNERSHIP WITH WEAVING MACHINERY design and manufacturing methods have allowed the company to develop its position in the market, including zero-tillage seeding equipment. To meet demand and distribute its products throughout the UK and Europe, the company recently expanded its facilities to over 60,000 sq. ft.

WIDE RANGE Weaving Machinery offers customers a wide range of drills and cultivators, flails and hedge cutters, grassland machinery and electric security gates, together with other products, from concrete mixers and bucket brushes to snow ploughs and hook lift trailers. It also stocks a large selection of used machinery, every item being tested in the company’s workshop prior to sale, to give customers complete peace of mind. Weaving Machinery’s main products areas are drills, cultivation equipment and flail mowers, but you can see the full range at www. weavingmachinery.net

Simon Weaving (L) with Gordon Cummings

Preferential terms on the full range of products from Weaving Machinery are now available to members following a new partnership between Fram Farmers and the Worcestershire-based company. The deal extends the previous arrangement which enabled members to order spare parts directly from Weaving Machinery and charge them to their Fram Farmers account. When Edward and Julia Weaving founded Weaving Machinery in 1983, their aim was to offer farmers the best quality machinery at affordable

Weaving Machinery’s GD drill, which has been very successful in UK and France, with growing interest worldwide

prices. That ethos remains, even though the company has developed significantly since those early days. A growing force in the UK agricultural machinery market, Weaving remains a family run business but now employs 60 staff at its headquarters in Chadbury near Evesham. Investments in modern

The Top-Soiler is one of the most popular in their range of cultivators

The extensive drill range includes the popular mounted and trailed GD models for low disturbance crop establishment. The 3m GD 3000M mounted model is an affordable, flexible and manoeuvrable direct drill with a 1,600 litre hopper suitable for all farm sizes, while trailed GD models feature a 5,000-litre hopper and working widths from 4m to 8m to meet the needs of large farms and contractors. Weaving’s range also includes the low disturbance min-till and zero-till Sabre Tine drill in working widths of 3m, 4.8m or 6m and featuring slim-line, heavy-duty Sabre tines with tungsten tips plus rubber shock absorbers. The three rows of tines are arranged in a large, staggered configuration to avoid trash blockages and allow it to drill into cover crops. The Sabre Tine drill is suitable for drilling a wide variety of seeds, from oil seed rape to beans, to a maximum depth of 10cm (4”).  Contunued on page 23

The Sabre Tine drill is brand new to the market, and due to be launched on their stand at LAMMA in January.






OVER 3,000 MACHINES, TRAILERS, ATTACHMENTS AND SITE ESSENTIALS AVAILABLE: PLANT HIRE Compressors Agricultural Machine Hire Dozers Site Dumpers Tracked Dumpers Dump Trucks Excavators Wheeled Excavators Fuel Bowsers Static Bowsers Forklifts Loading Shovels Rollers Skidsteers Telehandlers Tower Lights


TRACTOR & TRAILER HIRE CASE, John Deere & Valtra from 115hp to 310hp. Silage, Root, Grain & Bale Trailers, Dump Trailers, Vacuum Tankers and Spreaders. ACCESS HIRE Artic Booms - Bi Fuel Artic Booms - Diesel Artic Booms - Electric Scissor Lifts - Diesel Scissor Lifts - Electric Niftylifts Vertical Masts SPECIALIST TRANSPORT SOLUTIONS Articulated & Rigid Vehicles

PRICE GUARANTEE - Any orders for 2020 placed before 20th December 2019 are guaranteed at 2019 prices.

ATTACHMENTS Breakers Excavator Attachments Skidsteer Attachments Telehandler Attachments Auger Drives Compactors 3 Point Linkage & Fork Mounted Road Brushes Selecta Grabs Grapples Hand Breakers Man Baskets Power Washer Bowsers Hydraulic Pulverisers Ripper Tooth Riddle Buckets Tipping Skips V Buckets

Please call the FRAM Hire Desk on: 01728 727719 Or call one of the ASHBROOK Team now quoting ‘FRAM’ on: AMLWCH & BANGOR: 01248 364944 CONGLETON: 01260 270817 WARRINGTON: 01925 599080


ASHBROOK run a fresh and modern fleet of machines providing the benefits of the latest technology and the highest levels of reliability.

MACHINERY 23  Continued from page 21 The Weaving Tine Drill is the UK’s Number 1 selling tine drill and time proven for min-till or plough-based cultivation systems across all soil types. Available in working widths of 3m, 4m, 4.8m, 5m, 6m, 6.4m and 6.8m, it will operate in wet and dry conditions, this model has four rows of auto-reset tines which allow it to easily cope with large amounts of trash and drill seeds of all types and sizes.


Other popular models in Weaving Machinery’s range include the Short Disc Cultivator, an ideal levelling implement for working in stubbles, plough or turf which is perfect for chitting weed seeds and volunteers, together with the Agrimaster KN heavy duty multi-purpose flail mowers and Agrimaster FN verge mowers.

BUILDING THE BRAND “My father and mother started out buying and selling second-hand machinery at farm sales,” Simon Weaving, the company’s Sales Director, explains. “In the 1990s they began importing drills, flail mowers and combi-drills and the business has developed continually from there. “I studied farm mechanisation at Lackham College in Wiltshire and gained practical experience on farms in Ireland and Wiltshire, then joined the company in 2011 to further build the brand. We pride ourselves on having a personal approach and many members of our team come from farming backgrounds. We are continually developing new products and do everything from start to finish. Weaving products are fully supported by our after-sales teams, with service technicians covering the UK and a comprehensive spares department dispatching parts for next day delivery. “A partnership could work well for us both. Members will benefit from more advantageous pricing.”

“Part of that process is to change the way we work. After meeting Gordon Cummings (Fram Farmers’ Strategic Partnership Manager) it was apparent that a partnership could work well for us both. Members will benefit from more advantageous pricing and we hope that will be reflected in increased sales.” “Our business model is very simple, and focuses on selling direct to customers because we feel that is the way forward. The number of farming businesses is declining and in the current climate of uncertainty they are feeling vulnerable and looking to cut costs. It is therefore essential that we offer quality products at competitive prices. Further information on Weaving Machinery from Gordon Cummings at Fram Farmers on 01728 727700.

ADVICE HELPS FLAIL CHOICE Richard Wrinch’s family have farmed on the Shotley Peninsula, which borders the River Orwell in Suffolk, since 1795. Now, as R.J & H.W Wrinch, he and his wife Hazel operate 1000 acres of owned and contract farmed land on a six-course rotation which includes wheat, oilseed rape, winter barley, spring barley, sugar beet and potatoes. A Fram Farmers member for more than 20 years, they source many of the inputs they require through the cooperative, including fuel, feed, electricity and machinery. The latest purchase is a 2.25m Weaving Agrimaster Fox rear-mounted, multi-purpose, right-handoperated flail which can be used ‘in line’ behind the tractor or offset. It is ideal for cutting ditches and banks safely and easily, with working positions of up to 90° and down to 40°. The unique cutting action throws material over the top of the roller, keeping the cutting rotor clean and leaving a cleaner cut. “We are starting to grow more cover crops and looked at several types and makes of flail mower

before choosing the one we thought would best suit our future requirements,” Richard outlines. “We ruled out second-hand units because of their potential lack of reliability and repair costs, while some of the new ones were too heavy, others were only suitable for grassland and some were very expensive. “I spoke to Gordon Cummings at Fram Farmers and told him that we were looking to purchase a flail mower which would cope with a range of tasks, from cutting roadside verges to material up to 12.5mm in diameter, such as elm suckers. He explained the new preferential terms which had been negotiated with Weaving Machinery, and suggested that we consider the Agrimaster Fox model, which seemed to provide the features we wanted and was good value. By ordering it directly through Fram Farmers we obtained a very good deal and based on what we have seen since it was delivered at the start of October, we like it a lot.”

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Profile for framfarmers

Farmers First issue 54 - Winter 2019/20  

The latest news and advice from Fram Farmers

Farmers First issue 54 - Winter 2019/20  

The latest news and advice from Fram Farmers

Profile for framfarm