A new grain drying service, now fully operational at Southampton Grain Terminal (SGT), is expected to improve farmers' ability to market grain to higher value export markets, whilst also reducing their associated costs.
Frontier Agriculture has worked in collaboration with five independent farm businesses to create Southampton Marketing and Drying LLP at the Terminal and to invest in the installation of two new high-throughput driers. The facility was also supported by a grant from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). The driers will enable grain to be delivered at Southampton at up to 19% moisture content.
- State of the art grain drying at the point of consumption - drying grain on farm is costly and time consuming. The main alternative, until now, has been to divert grain to a commercial drying facility, incurring additional transport costs. By using SGT, the need for on farm drying or extra haulage costs is removed by taking grain from farm direct to the point of consumption, where it can also be dried, if required.
- Access to new higher value export markets - with the advent of a bioethanol industry in the north, it is likely that exports will become even more important in the south. The drying facility will allow farmers to access foreign wheat markets which require lower moisture content deliveries. Increasing the base value of UK exports will benefit the whole of the south.
- Potential to reduce storage costs - introducing farmers to the concept of 'virtual' grain storage with the ability to market/price at a later date.
Mike Adams, export manager for Frontier said: 'We're very excited about the resources we have in place at Southampton and we expect them to be fully utilised by farmers in the area. We have a strong network of export customers who are major grain consumers, so we know we have homes for grain; the new driers mean it's easier than ever for farmers to market their crops with us.
'We're encouraging farmers to see the services we offer as a cost-effective solution to storage too. They can send grain straight to Southampton, have it dried on arrival (if required) and tipped straight into our silos, ready for shipment.'
The overall benefit of this is favourable pricing and payment for farmers. 'Of course, they can sell their load on the day if that looks to be the best marketing option, but if they want to wait and see which direction the market moves, they can', Mike continued. 'We will still take delivery of their grain and then price it at a later date. In effect, the grain goes into 'virtual' storage. The competitive cost of using our facility here can be attractive when compared to conventional grain storage options that some farmers currently use. It also gives farmers greater freedom and control of their business, as they are not tied into storage agreements for years to come, as can be the case with rented storage. Additionally, they retain personal control of when they sell their grain.'
Open Days at Southampton
Farmers are being invited to see the driers for themselves and discuss the benefits of using Southampton Grain Terminal. A number of Open Days are arranged. Mike Adams added: 'We've had a high level of interest from growers in the region about Southampton Grain Terminal, places at the first farmer event on 25th November are being filled fast. It's just as well we have more planned early next year!'