October 2020: We are pleased to announce and be extending our 25kgs bags to now include 7.5kg and 10kg bags
Our yellow and white bags stand out among the crowd with people learning to trust our logo and product, recognising it as a stamp of quality. For your customer’s ease and convenience, the bags have cooking instructions on with the 7.5kg bag also having a handle.
We can supply you with potatoes all year round from either the field or storage. Regular sampling ensures we only supply quality potatoes. Delicious fresh potatoes from our field to your fork.
June 2020: 3 Shires are pleased to announce we are sponsoring Cheshire Agricultural Chaplaincy Golden Wheat Scheme. https://www.agchap.com/sponsor-directory
“Cheshire Agricultural Chaplaincy Team covers the whole of Cheshire & Wirral offering 24:7 support to the farming community with a listening ear for as long as required, pastoral support and ability to bring in supporting agencies when required.” “The team are also available to collect and deliver shopping and prescriptions to those that are self-isolating in the agricultural community” during theCOVID-19. visit https://www.agchap.com/ for more information”
Hot Potato Night: Market Trends, Brexit & Soil Nutrition.
Feb 2020: Windmill Pub, Tabley.
We had the pleasure of Scott Garnett from the ICL – Global Fertiliser – come and talk all thing soil nutrition related. Scott made some interesting points regarding soil nutrition and approaches. He raised the issue that when farmers come to reduce costs they look to decrease the fertiliser first yet “fertiliser inputs are <5% of the total cost of growing the crop of potatoes” He also stated that a plant requires certain minerals. All Nutrients need to be at the right level otherwise if you leave one out or it is reduced it becomes the limiting factor and equates to “hidden hunger” in the crop.
ICL have potash mines and is the only mine in the world that mines polysulphate which improves root structure and has over 25 days more sulphur release than its nearer competitor: with a lower carbon footprint than common fertilisers. This is obviously something all growers will be considering going forward.
We also had Alice Bailey from the AHDB who discussed Market Intelligence and the potential impact of Brexit. Alice showed us information regarding imports and how they had gone up before the general election and how tariffs maybe around 11% after the 12 months adjustment period. Contracts are on the rise, with free buy decreasing as a result. This is as a result of Growers and factories wanting more certainty. There is also a decrease in processing potatoes being planted with the pre-pack job seeing an increase. Chip shops have slowed up on their purchase as they decreased their portion sizes upon the price going high the previous harvest and even though the price has gone down, they have not altered therefore the demand is not rising.
There was a lively debate about levy collection and data collection. Alice showed herself as very knowledgeable with progress made with 3 Shires providing market prices to the AHDB.
The 3 Directors will be attending the open meeting on the 19th March (York races) and encourage other Growers to attend if possible. Visit our Facebook and Instagram pages for more details.
Hot Potato Night: Future of Disease Control with AHDB.
June 2019: Aston Grange Farm.
We wish to thank Andy and Angela for their hospitality. This was another well attended event by all sectors of the potato industry. We also wish to thank John Sarup, Steve Crane, Tom Robinson, Malpas tractors, Grimme, Procam and Appleton Potato Group for speaking and sponsoring the event respectfully. We would also like to thank the AHDB for coming along to answer your questions. We hope it provided some answers to those that attended.
Below is a summary of the Q&A session to the AHDB. If you wish for a fuller break down please contact us on email@example.com and I will send you the full summary.
The following thoughts are not necessarily those of 3 Shires but were raised at the Hot Potato Meeting on the 27 June @ Aston grange Farm; the AHDB replies are in italic. Representing the AHDB was Rob Clayton – Sector Straegy Director; Tim Isaac – Head of Arable Knowledge Exchange (KE) and Graham Bannister – Senior KE manager and regional Contact.
- FYI: Storage Network – Free half day available to Potato storage managers from levy paying businesses. Call 01406 359 419 /0800 0282 111
- AHDB seem to be missing data: The prices the AHDB advice are always out of date as the price, especially in the early market fluctuates so rapidly there is a need for daily if not live updates.
- Grower need to feed this back to the AHDB. The AHDB is the only system that collects over 30% of the weekly trade and is ISO accredited. Graham will be looking into arranging Market Intelligence to visit the region and some growers. Get in touch.
2. Online levy form said at the bottom ‘click here to see what you get for your levy’. Data was from 2014. 2017 would have been acceptable but this is too out of date.
- This is hoping to be updated by August/ September when switched to the new website www.ahdb.org.uk
3. What percentage funding comes from the retail sector?
- Historically none which is not great! However, the AHDB feel if you charge the retailer then they will just take it off the Grower elsewhere. The industry is changing with longer contracts coming into place so sharing the risk and levy would be something to work towards.
4. Do these retailers serve on boards even though they don’t pay levy?
- No retailer sit on the board, only representatives of businesses that supply retailers. The roles of buyers and retailers have merged somewhat.
5. How do they have the right to sit on the board if they don’t pay a levy and why are they allowed such market control?
- The boards try and be representative of growers, merchants, retailers; including independent members such as newly appointed Alison Levett.
6. Is the ADHB responsible for the Jersey Royal advert?
- The AHDB did Bud the Spud advert; spending on love.potatoes.co.uk and Potatoes-more than a bit on the side reversing the -3% p.a. decline.
- TV ad is beyond the levy quantity. TV ads have been tried before and are very expensive. AHDB provide facts to refute misplaced or incorrect information.
7. Why don’t the AHDB join forces with someone who is doing a good advert such as McDonalds, Aldi, Lidl?
- This can’t be ruled out and information is provided when requested.
8. What do people want the AHDB to concentrate on? Research into pesticides, Marketing, or education?
- Get in touch with Graham to let him know.
9. All costs are going up on the production of potatoes and the AHDB is not returning the value of the levy in this. The AHDB do not justify the levy currently. The balance is wrong, retailers should be forced to pay the levy and not pass it back onto the growers.
- Growers can use Farm bench to help them track cost and allow the cost of production to be worked out.
- One Grower had used Farm bench and then went to a retailer and showed years of data to then prove the price he was getting paid was too low and renegotiated it up!
- Tim Isaac and Graham asked to be judge going forward not what has been.
10. Why do we pay a levy on the potatoes we don’t harvest or sell? This surely needs to change to be in line with other industries.
- The way the statutory Instrument (Act of parliament that set up the AHDB) is laid out means the levy is collected on what is planted.
- DEFRA have done a survey and are hoping to release the results shortly (Autumn time)
- DEFRA will have consult before any changes occur and a constitutional change will need to take place.
11. Education; Grow your own was noted. Why don’t the AHDB just mail shot seed to all primary school rather than the schools having to contact them?Even an email or leaflet drop would help.
- GOYP reached 14,000 GB schools. Graham met with 110 school children in Scotland recently. If schools want anything Graham would be happy to facilitate.
- Teacher and contacts points move on/ job; however, school don’t move so could be addressed generically to the school Head?
12. Why do the AHDB not have a stand at the Cheshire Show?
- Graham Bannister is personally going to be there next year!
13. Do the AHDB and the NFU talk?
- Regional improvement and improvement in connection needed was noted by the AHBD . NFU structure means potatoes come under Horticulture which is different to AHDB.
- Graham has good relationship with NFU in other regions across the Pennines and calls Stoneleigh at least 4 times a week.
Above is a summary for a full AHDB response please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Hot Potato Night: Contracts.
December 2018: Windmill Pub, Tabley.
This was a full house event attended by Growers, Merchants and Factories alike. We had a panel of speakers including Philip Cuerden, Managing Director of Bowcock Cuerden (NFU Panel Firm Solicitors); Simon Leaver, Chief Executive from Fylde Fresh & Fabulous;
Robin Cropper, a Lancashire potato grower and chaired by one of our Directors Andrew Ollier. We wish to thank them for giving their time and taking some difficult questions and also thank NFU Middlewich Branch for their sponsorship.
The agenda for the night was to look at:
- Contract length (1/2/3 year contracts and movement agreement) &
- Agreed quality of potatoes (criteria).
Top points raised collectively from the evening:
- Read the contract before signing it; if you don’t like it you DON’T have to sign it!
- Contract length beyond one harvest would not necessarily make anything easier.
- Quality agreement comes down to your relationship with the factory/ merchant and how they sample/ track the potatoes as they grow to delivery. This also relates to the terms YOU SIGN.
- We need better communication between grower and factories.
- There needs to be an appreciation that “risk” should be shared and accepted by all.
- Do we need to be looking at a representative for Growers in the factories that could respond immediately to problem loads on behalf of the Grower to increase trust; communication and understanding between both sides as an independent body?
- Sugar beet contracts have been helped by NFU, this is lacking in the potato industry; there is no industry control (AHDB ~ what do they do?)
- Potato contracts are very like Milk contracts in that they are contracts to buy not sell as they are written by the Buyer. There is also great parallels between free buy and contract buy in that the same process occurs but there is no piece of paper binding you as much.
N/B: These are points raised by people who attended the evening and not necessarily the standpoint of 3Shires.
These are the main points we gleamed from the evening. Since the meeting AHDB have contacted us and we are looking to ask some questions to them in the New Year.