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Monthly eNewsletter
1st January 2024

Young Female Farmer
Happy Farmer
Image by Zoe Schaeffer
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Suppliers to Orion Members of all types of Agricultural Fencing and Building Products

Call the team on 01793 783879

Webbs Builders Merchants have been established for almost 51 years and either stock, or are able to obtain, almost any timber, landscape or building materials required for the farm, house & garden.

Webbs are suppliers to Members of Orion Farming Group and offer a discount to Orion Members.

Webbs are situated at Southdown Farm, Shrivenham just off the A420 between Swindon and Oxford; please visit for details.

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“Great service, great prices, very good stock levels. I travel from Newbury to deal with Webbs; no one local can compete on price.”

“Items ordered over the phone were for collection when requested and the yard guys were very helpful.”

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“Yard staff very helpful and cheerful – and after 25 years working in a builder’s merchants I know what to look for. I shall certainly use them again.”

Cefetra Market Report:

Late December 2023


Unfortunately, as we write this on the week before Christmas, there has been very little drilling progress made since the last monthly write up – new crop values therefore remain at good levels for both wheat and barley against input prices for Harvest 24. The same cannot be said for old crop prices as we have seen the May 24 futures contract struggling to rebound off recent lows.

China was buying large volumes of new crop US wheat until recently, which saw a period of excitement in the CBOT market towards the end of November/early December. This therefore saw the CBOT wheat market firm quite significantly, resulting in US wheat becoming too expensive and pricing itself out, so new purchases have come to a stop for the time being. French exports remain poor which is why MATIF and LIFFE have found no support in recent weeks.

Feed demand feels noticeably lower so far this season with mills rolling tonnages already and little fresh purchases being made in the spot position or even into early next year. Lower stock numbers, ample forage on farm, and home milling of feed grains are likely to be the main three reasons for the decline in demand that we are currently seeing. The most noticeable reduction in stock would be in the poultry sector after the devastating year we saw last year.

On the back of flat prices and the market struggling to find any upside, farmers have been rather reluctantly selling off odd parcels to bring in some cash, after waiting since August for prices to jump higher. It really is very difficult to predict where this market will go as things seem to be settling down after a turbulent and volatile couple of years.

If new crop values remain as they are into next year, then gross margins should begin to look more reasonable after the worries and stress of this year, with such high input costs for the crop in the shed. The pricing outlook for new crop will all depend on what gets planted between now and the end of spring across Europe. Current planting progression for France is shown in the images below. Planted area saw an increase towards the end of November/Early December but the condition of the crop in the ground is becoming poorer having sat wet and cold for long periods. We believe France are up to around 90% drilled vs 99% this time last year, but time is running out for winter cereals to be going in to see a reasonable yield return and it is unlikely that the ground will dry up enough now until the spring.


Another key area to watch is Ethanol production – with some companies suggesting they could cut production rates if the price of ethanol does not increase. One of which has a site in the north of England and could have quite an impact on UK wheat demand. For a significant part of this marketing season so far, Ethanol producers have been leading the way with constant demand for wheat while feed demand has eased.

Hopefully feed demand picks up into the new year with some colder weather in order for the market to find some more demand, and we can only hope to see some better weather, allowing growers to get seed in the ground and hopefully revive areas already drilled that are currently suffering!

We have also grown our effort around sustainability with several steps which we hope will allow Cefetra to lead the way in our sector. Cefetra Ecosystem Services will be the bridge between customers, many from leading brands in the drinks and animal feed industries, tasked with sourcing sustainable suppliers, and farmers who want financial returns on sustainable farming practices.

We are running a series of Regional Breakfast meetings to explain our offering.  The next event is at Arrow Mill, Arrow, Alcester B49 5NL on Monday 22nd January. If anyone is interested in attending please contact us.

To find out more, please contact the team at Cefetra Grain: Simon Wilcox, Manager – UK Farm Grain Origination, 07774 822507,; Josef Grinczer, Farm Grain Buyer, 07712 325197, ; Ian Jervis, Farm Grain Buyer, 07497 185361,

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Orion welcomes Secure Stores to the Group

Secure Stores Nationwide are pleased to join the Orion’s supplier directory and look forward to supporting their members.

Secure Stores sell and rent new and used shipping containers, and specialise in Self Storage. With 20 years combined experience in this field, they can offer free advice on operational aspects relating to self storage, be it site layout, security, access control, insurance, marketing, product mix or other areas.

Alongside the standard containers Secure Stores also sell Chemical Stores, Site Accommodation Units including showers/toilets/offices/canteens and bespoke Container Conversions. As small privately run business, you can expect great service, fair pricing and top quality containers.

Orion members can receive 5% discount on standard pricing and can use their Orion account to purchase from Secure Stores.

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County Insurance Services Ltd have achieved Chartered Broker status

An established and leading family-run niche insurance broker has recently achieved corporate Chartered Insurance Status from the Chartered Insurance Institute.

Every firm that holds Chartered status adheres to an ethical code that underpins broader commitments to professional values.

Tim Sydenham, managing director of County, said: “This has been an ambition of ours for some time and reflects the skill, expertise and dedication of our team to the profession.

He added: “By using this industrywide, recognisable standard, we hope to show to clients old and new that we are a leading specialist insurance broker that really does pride itself on the professional advice we give to clients”


These commitments include putting customers’ interests first, investing in ongoing development of their people’s technical skills and knowledge, plus supporting wider initiatives that benefit society as well as the growth of the profession.


Melissa Collett, Executive Director of Professional Standards at the CII Group, said: “By achieving corporate Chartered status, County has made a public declaration to professional standards, and has committed to upholding the Chartered Ethos of nurturing knowledge, client centricity and serving society.”

“We are proud to welcome County Insurance Services into the Chartered community.”

County look after over 2,000 farms and rural businesses across the UK, alongside over 3,000 thatch properties. Independent and family run, the brokerage has recently grown to over 30 staff and offers UK wide expertise for business, personal and niche insurance requirements.

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Feed & Livestock Section

Compound feed

Tender invitations have been sent to all the Group’s compound feed suppliers for the 2024 – 2025 compound year (September 24 – August 25). The Feed & Livestock committee will assess all submitted tenders and Members will be notified as to which supplier(s) will supply the Group in April. Customer service and product quality are two of the criteria taken into consideration by the committee when considering which supplier(s) to offer the tender to and so any feedback, both positive and negative, would be appreciated.

De-icing salt

With the possibility of freezing conditions in the forecast this month and possibly next, it might be an idea to have a pallet of de-icing salt in the shed to de-ice drives, yards and any other areas where machinery, livestock or employees have access.

GLW 150th Anniversary update

Back in August’s newsletter there was an article relating to GLW’s 150th anniversary drawing attention to the 1,000-mile tuk-tuk challenge they were undertaking in the hope of raising £20,000 for three charities. To date they have raised in excess of £32,000, which is a phenomenal achievement and funds are still coming in. Those at GLW involved in the fund-raising effort would like to thank all members who generously gave to the three causes.

Lead Times

In the run up to Christmas, lead times especially for minerals and compound feed understandably went up quite significantly. Now that normal service has resumed after the festive period, please don’t assume that they will revert to the standard 3-5 working days and work on the assumption that minerals will still be 8-10 working days and compound feed will still be 7 working days, when planning your deliveries.

And Finally...

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them won the Oscar for Best Costume Design, the only Harry Potter film to win an Academy Award and the JD in JD Wetherspoon is from a character in The Dukes of Hazzard; Wetherspoon was a teacher at the founder’s primary school.

For more details on any matter raised in the Feed & Livestock section, please contact Joe in the office:

Joe Cobb, Feed & Livestock Manager,  01865 393 139

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For more information:

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