NWF Agriculture has grown to be a leading national supplier of ruminant animal feed, feeding one in six dairy cows in Britain. The business supplies over 4,750 farmers from Scotland to Cornwall.
FY18 has been a strong year, with Feeds delivering the increase in profitability planned following the significant investment in the prior year. The market environment was more positive with stable milk prices supporting our farming customers. Feed market volumes increased by 8.7% as farmers who had previously cut back on dairy feed increased usage and the long, cold winter increased market demand for sheep feed. In addition, commodity spot prices moved in an upward trend with a basket of commodities increasing 27% over the year, which was reflected in higher priced feed.
We have delivered the planned increase in returns in Feeds as a result of the capital investment in the prior year and effective management of the business against a backdrop of more stable milk prices.
The new feed mill at Longtown, Cumbria, operated effectively throughout the year supplying customers in the North of England and Southern Scotland and the automated blends production facility at Wardle, Cheshire, increased capacity and improved efficiency as planned.
Revenue increased by 7.4% to £169.9 million (2017: £158.2 million) as a result of increased feed prices and additional sales of traded products in the year. Headline operating profit doubled to £3.0 million (2017: £1.5 million). Total feed volume was stable at 589,000 tonnes (2017: 589,000 tonnes).
A key strategic priority for the business remains to increase the nutritional focus in Feeds by providing high quality advice and value added products to our farming customers. New products have been successfully launched in the year, backed by training and multi-channel communications with farming customers.
Average milk prices in Great Britain were stable, increasing from 26.8p to 27.4p per litre over the period with a high of 31.7p per litre in November 2017. On the back of this more positive environment, milk production increased by 5% to 12.4 billion litres (2017: 11.8 billion litres), a similar level to 2016.
Feeds has a very broad customer base, working with over 4,750 farmers across the country. This base, and the underlying robust demand for milk and dairy products, results in a reasonably stable overall demand for our feed in most market conditions.
- Delivered planned returns on investment in the prior year
- Prices aligned to rapidly increasing commodity costs
- Increased sales of traded products
- Market conditions positive