Openfield undaunted by Aberdeen Grain decision

Openfield remains committed to its strategy of promoting member returns by aligning central stores with defined end-markets despite the decision by Aberdeen Grain Storage to pursue a different path.

After a 10-year partnership between Openfield and Aberdeen Grain, negotiations to extend the relationship proved unsuccessful with the latter stating that it wished to pursue a different strategy.

During the partnership, capacity at Aberdeen Grain’s base at Whiterashes increased from 29,000 tonnes to almost 70,000 tonnes. Openfield was instrumental in its development, helping to secure funding, providing financial support and leadership to the business and becoming the largest owner of space. The relationship will cease once marketing activity for the 2014 crop is concluded.

Openfield CEO James Dallas said the co-op would continue to pursue agreements that best serve the interests of members.

“We firmly believe collaborative marketing offers greater value to the farmer member and delivers a secure and sustainable route to market. We will continue to work with like-minded businesses, farmers and central storage partners to promote British agriculture both in the UK and overseas.

“Ultimately, our vision of aligning farmers and farmer-controlled business to the end-consumer as an integral element of the supply chain for mutual benefit wasn’t something that was shared by the board of Aberdeen Grain.”

A demonstration of this strategy is evident with recent announcement of a supply agreement between members of Angus Cereals and Bairds Malt that serves the interest of both parties.

The arrangement brings the newest storage co-operative in the UK together with a major end-user consumer and gives the former a guaranteed market for malting barley while providing the latter with access to efficient storage and handling facilities.

“This is an important step forward as it provides direct access to a major local consumer while enabling the businesses to manage production, storage and marketing to best advantage in a truly collaborative way,” says James Dallas.

“The Openfield team will continue to work hard on behalf of the Scottish farmer and the Angus Cereals Storage business to secure more of arrangements of this nature and to provide unbiased professional advice on seed, fertiliser, agrochemicals and risk management in grain marketing,” he adds.

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