Peterborough Conference: Mini Round-up

What did we learn from the Peterborough conference?

14th March 2023

The pandemic put a stop to so many things over the past 3 years, including the annual Cefetra Grain conference. This year, we were able to hold our first in-person conference since 2020 and it was superb.

To those of you who couldn’t attend, don’t panic, we’ve put together a short round-up of the morning. If you’d like more information about what was discussed, please email and we will be able to send your more information.

The morning consisted of 3 speakers:

  1. “The challenges facing Agriculture in 2023” Matt Culley – Chairman of the NFU Combinable Crops Board
  2. The Grain Markets ‘The Big Picture’ – Simon Wilcox, ‘Milling Wheat’ – Chris McCallum and The Fertiliser Markets ‘The Big Picture’ – Simon Borthwick
  3. “Regen Farming – A practical experience” Paul Davey – Regen Farmer, Contractor and Advisor

Matt Culley from the NFU was first up, he discussed a great deal of topics around the challenges the agricultural industry is facing during 2023, some of these had been around for some time:

  1. Fertiliser price and availability – since the Ukraine invasion the price of fertiliser has been sky high and very hard to get hold of. Matt discussed the different options for farmers and how the NFU can help
  2. Rules for water – Matt discussed the growing concerns around the rules and the new Defra guidance
  3. Digital grain passport – this has been a long time in the making and was delayed last Autumn. The main goals for the passport are to:
    1. Generate a 2-way flow of data
    2. Digitise the paper passport
    3. One industry passport

The next few speakers were from Cefetra Grain; Simon Wilcox, Chris McCallum and Simon Borthwick.

They discussed the bigger picture around the grain market situation, how did we get to where we are now?

A huge export to China in 2020, severe weather across the world and biofuels all led to massive food inflation. Although these pressures eased and supply and demand are more in balance there is still massive uncertainty over what Putin’s going to do next and we are starting to see weather concerns in parts of the world. One thing is clear, volatility is going to continue.

The morning finished with Paul Davey, a farmer with practical experience and knowledge of regen farming. He also shared his 6 regeneration farming principles:

  1. Minimise soil disturbance
  2. Maintain living roots
  3. Protect the soil surface
  4. Livestock integration
  5. Increased biodiversity
  6. Context – no 2 farms are the same, and no 2 fields are the same. Regenerative farming is about doing what’s right in each environment.

Thank you to Matt Cully, Paul Davey and everyone who attended the day. If you’d like to find out more information about any of the topics covered in the Peterborough conference, get in touch with one of the Cefetra team.

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