Mole Valley Farmers has reported a solid trading year for the year ending September 30, 2019 despite the impact of seasonal weather and economic uncertainty on farmers’ purchasing habits.
Andrew Jackson, who was chief executive for the accounting year, but handed over to Jack Cordery in May 2020, said the 2019 trading environment was hugely different to the previous year, where a late spring and drought created increased demand for ruminant feeds.
Mr Jackson said: “With livestock producers benefitting from some exceptionally good growing conditions, our direct-to-farm volumes and revenues have been influenced by the weather.
“Also, given the economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit that prevailed over the wider economy and the agricultural industry, our farming customers have been more cautious throughout the year and seem to have spent less on non-essential items.”
The company said its feed business exceeded budgeted volumes by 4.2% and demand for dairy products and ranges remained strong. There was a marginal increase in group turnover to £495 million, thanks to the commitment of farmer shareholders.
Mole Valley Farmers said that, once again, farmer members increased year-on-year, with numbers now exceeding 9,000. Group operating profit was £2.4m.
The company said that rural retailing stores achieved a sound result for the accounting year, delivering a 1.8% increase in turnover.
In addition, the business reported:
- Store revenue: Mole Valley Farmers; £105.7m, Mole Country Stores; £91.7m, Bridgmans Farmdirect; £24.6m;
- £1.8m delivered in savings to farmer shareholders;
- £1.2m saving on new vehicles passed to customers;
- Fertiliser volumes exceeded 140,934 tonnes; and
- Mole Insurance maintained a customer retention rate of over 95%.
Mr Jackson added: “With Jack Cordery at the helm, Mole Valley Farmers remains committed to driving a competitive pricing advantage and choice at a time when agriculture and the wider economy must contend with so much indecision.”