Notwithstanding the very challenging market conditions as a result of the poor 2020 harvest, the British farmer-owned grain marketing and arable inputs co-operative has reported a small profit of £0.1m for the year to 30 June 2021 (2020: Profit £0.4m). Anticipating the difficult year to come, it was able to demonstrate its resilience by significantly reducing its costs to deliver a fourth consecutive year of profit.
The 2020 harvest saw the UK’s annual wheat crop fall by 40%. This was despite one of the largest planting areas for Barley, but that crop only saw a marginal increase, due to poor yields. Inevitably, these volumes led to challenges with high import levels of wheat (2.4 million tonnes) and corn (2.8 million tonnes). Millers were using around 32% grist from imported wheat, the prior year they were only using 15%, which led to one of the largest proportions seen in recent years. The UK’s exit from the European Union led to stock piling in anticipation of trade disruption. Oil Seed rape produced another small crop compared to prior years leading to imports of 643,000 tonnes compared to the prior year of 416,000 tonnes.
Commenting on this performance, Openfield’s chairman Philip Moody said: “I’m very pleased to see that we have maintained our profitability in a very challenging time. We delivered an outstanding result in a year where the industry faced unprecedented challenges from both a disastrous harvest and a global pandemic. We took pre-emptive action to reduce our costs significantly and this performance not only reflects well now, but it bodes well for the group’s future prospects.”
Openfield are proud to be the only farmer owned grain marketing and arable inputs co-operative that has the scale to access all the major UK and global markets. Its strategy is to support British agriculture by working with their members to supply some of the best-known British food and drink brands aligned to outstanding service and advice within an integrated and innovative supply chain.
Openfield performance to June 2021:
- Profit before tax of £0.1m compared with £0.4m in 2020;
- Operating costs reduced by 17.4% to £12.8million (2020 £15.5 million);
- Group revenues down 19.1% to £516m (2020: 638m);
- Net assets (exc. pension fund) remained stable at £27.3m (2020: £27m).