Serving the Farming Industry across East Anglia for 35 Years
Tracing the arable supply chain – from seed in the field to products on the shelf – is the theme of a new seminar... Seminar stage focuses on arable supply chain

Tracing the arable supply chain – from seed in the field to products on the shelf – is the theme of a new seminar stage at this year’s Cereals event.

Sponsored by KWS, the Seed to Shelf stage will host two full days of informative seminars from plant breeders, agronomists, farm contractors. Speakers will include farmers grain marketers, processors, retail brands and retailers.

“We understand the critical role the arable supply chain has in producing sustainable food sources that feed our country now and for future generations,” says Kirsty Richards, KWS conventional crops product manager.

“The schedule is full of informative seminars that explore a range of diverse topical matters that all impact the future of agriculture. We look forward to seeing you there.”

Panel discussion

The programme will kick off with opening remarks from NFU president Tom Bradshaw and Defra farm minister Mark Spencer. A panel discussion will follow on regenerative agriculture and the future of crop breeding.

Renerative agriculture always makes for a contentious debate due to the many interpretations of the phrase, says Bill Angus, of Angus Wheat Consultants, one of the panelists.

“My definition is that regenerative agriculture is what farmers should have been doing for the past 30 years or so but were incentivised not to do it. So now, we have to repair the damage of past agricultural policies.”

As for the future of crop breeding, Mr Angus feels innovation will be driven by a shift in how varieties are marketed. Ultimately, a lot of varieties are bred for the Recommended List, he explains.

“There has to be a mechanism where breeders are incentivised – not necessarily financially – to develop different traits. The genetic variability is absolutely there though.”

This session will be followed by an update on the latest advances in crop protection, nutrition and agronomy. It will be chaired by Richard Lawrence, editor of Agronomist & Arable Farmer magazine.

Getting seed into the ground and up and away requires good kit, and a panel discussion with key figures from big-name manufacturers will ask how machinery can help growers meet sustainability targets.

Soil protection

Farmer and YouTuber Olly Harrison is also set to appear on the panel. Responsible machinery manufacturers recognise that producing tractors and other machines has to benefit growers, he says.

“Some of the technology available on drills, for example, allows us to use no-till techniques to protect the soil which is vital. I’m looking forward to hearing more from manufacturers about their plans for the future and the direction they are heading in.”

Keeping with the machinery theme, the National Association of Agricultural Contractors will lead a session on the economics of using a contractor. Fees for contractors  have increased over the past year – with a slight fall in diesel prices more than offset by an increase in other costs.

Turning focus to the business end of the supply chain Farmers Weekly markets editor Charlie Reeve will be joined by grain traders and other experts to discuss what’s happening in global grain markets.

 Meanwhile, recruitment specialist Guy Moreton will discuss ways to recruit the next generation across the supply chain.

Linking all these topics is the growing influence of environmental considerations and consumer expectations on the supply chain. This will be explored in a session chaired by Farmers Weekly editor Andrew Meredith.

Experts from the oat, wheat and barley markets will share their perspectives on the future of green premiums.

Adequate reward

Producers say they are willing to adapt to market requirements – if the reward is adequate, says Mr Meredith.

“I hope our panel of experts will be able to share insights on whether the majority of cereal growers should expect to comply with additional growing standards linked to environmental outcomes in future.”

Seminars are an important part of Cereals, concludes event manager Ali McIntyre. Having a dedicated space for the first time to delve deeper into the breadth of the supply chain will be invaluable for visitors, she says.

“The sessions are renowned for raising thought-provoking questions on some of the biggest challenges and scenarios the industry faces,” says Ms McIntyre.