Serving the Farming Industry across East Anglia for 35 Years
High energy prices mean drying grain will be hugely challenging in the event of a wet summer, says a group of farmer-owned stores. Grain co-ops to discuss energy price concerns

High energy prices mean drying grain will be hugely challenging in the event of a wet summer, says a group of farmer-owned stores.

Gas prices rose 128.9% in the year to November, according to the latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics. Electricity prices rose 65.4% over the same period, said an ONS update on 13 January.

Although whole gas prices have since fallen to levels last seen just before Russia invaded Ukraine almost a year ago, gas and electricity costs remain high due to global price pressures and supply chain issues.

Relief scheme

Announced last September, the government’s Energy Bill Relief Scheme is due to end next month. It has helped support businesses over the winter months by providing a discount on wholesale gas and electricity prices.

In what is believed to be the first gathering of its kind for 20 years, representatives from nine farmer-owned grain storage cooperatives will meet on 22 March to discuss ways to mitigate the impact of high energy costs.

“All the stores face the same challenges,” said Philip Darke of Camgrain. “Times are volatile and we are all affected by energy costs. Last year’s dry summer meant grain drying costs were minimal – but a wet year would prove extremely expensive.”

The meeting will take place on 22 March at Silverstone, Northamptonshire. Camgrain will be joined by representatives from Aberdeen Grain, Coastal Grains, Isle of Wight Grain, Lingrain, Trinity Grain, Union Grain, Weald Granary and Woldgrain.

Operational and safety issues will also be discussed at the meeting. With many stores constructed in the 1980s, talks will also centre on ways to replace ageing infrastructure and the need to recruit the next generation of staff into the business.

“We are all determined to deliver value for money to our members,” said Mr Darke. “We are all trying to achieve the same thing and bringing good brains together will help everyone get better value out of the supply chain.”