Mole Valley Farmers Pioneers Unique Bean Buyback Scheme

LinkedIn +

Mole Valley Farmers is pioneering a unique ‘bean buyback scheme’ that benefits growers and helps secure a valuable, sustainable, and secure feed supply for livestock.

The Mole Valley Farmers’ ‘bean buyback scheme’ provides growers with a secure market and guaranteed price and premium over wheat, which can be fixed at any time. There are also additional premiums when protein levels exceed a specific threshold.

Farmers signing up for the scheme should farm within 50 miles of one of Mole Valley Farmers’ three feed mills in southwest England.

The beans are grown on contract for Mole Valley Farmers and repurchased following harvest to be used across the entire Mole Valley Farmers compound and blend ruminant feed range.

In addition, the ‘bean buyback scheme’ aims to secure feed supplies for livestock whilst also improving the sustainability of the supply chain by producing feed locally and reducing the reliance on soya.

Cope seeds

Mole Valley Farmers has worked closely with leading seeds specialists, Cope Seeds, to ensure the selected varieties provide an excellent agronomic value for the growers whilst achieving the best nutritional values.

Winter varieties include Tundra and Vespa, which have been selected for their high protein content. The spring variety Victus has been chosen for its low vicine content to maximise feed efficiency in livestock.

Mole Valley Farmers’ head of Grassland and Forage Agronomy Lisa Hambly hoped the scheme would encourage more growers to engage with their local Mole Valley feed mills and create circular economy solutions.

“The scheme has many benefits. For growers, it’s providing a secure and premium market for their produce whilst benefitting soil health and reducing the need for nitrogen in the cropping rotation.  There is a big win from an environmental point of view too, “she added.

“Following covid and the Ukraine crisis, feed supplies have been put under strain. This scheme is designed to help secure the supply of high-quality feed for livestock whilst benefitting the environment and growers,” she said.

Reduce need for imports

Dr Kerensa Hawkey, nutritionist at Mole Valley Farmers, said beans provided a good source of protein for ruminants and would reduce the need for imported products. “Beans have a good protein content of 26-27% and the amino acid, lysine, which is essential in milk production. They are also a good source of starch.

“The varieties we have selected to grow are particularly high in protein. Beans work well both nutritionally and for physical quality in our compound and blends across the Mole Valley Farmers ruminant feed range, furthermore, it reduces our reliance on imported products,” she added.

Eight growers covering 325Ha are currently signed up to the scheme, including Dyson Farming and cheese makers the Alvis family at Lye Cross Farm, Bristol. Mole Valley Farmers is wishing to expand the grower network further.

Nick Green, Lye Cross Farm Operations Director, said the buyback scheme offered an opportunity that is benefitting both the grower and Mole Valley Farmers.

Lye Cross Farm currently has 113ha of the winter bean variety Vespa in the ground. They have grown beans in the past, mainly as a cash crop as well as feeding it to some of their cattle.

Mr Green said: “The bean buyback scheme provides an opportunity for both the grower and Mole Valley Farmers to produce something the customer wants at a price linked to the wheat LIFFE price. This ensures transparency and clarity between grower and buyer. There is a premium paid for protein and as the buyback agreement is structured, both organisations benefit.

“The contract also covers 100% of the harvested produce of the area sown, which provides security for the grower,” he adds.

For more information on the ‘bean buyback scheme’ or Mole Valley Farmers feed ranges, call Megan Pearce T: 01769 575661.

Share this story:

About Author