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Orion Farming Monthly Newsletter March 2024

Updated: Feb 28




Orion updates Website

Orion Farming Group have recently updated our website – you can see it at the same web address: Nick Philp, Orion Chairman, says “The aims of the update to the website are twofold. First, we want to simplify the message about what it means to be a Member of Orion Farming Group and the benefits therein, whilst retaining key features such as the Members Login access for eaccount Members. Second, we want to enable suppliers to Orion to be able to update all their key information and add in any promotional material so that Members can always get the latest from Orion suppliers when they look up the Supplier Catalogue on the Orion App or call the office for the information.” We would welcome feedback on the updated website from Orion Members – please contact Adam Donaldson on 07907 581094 or to provide feedback.

Orion Suppliers Latest Promotions posted in February

Screwfix have uploaded numerous great promotions for Members in February 2024 including exclusive Dewalt product promotions to celebrate 100 years, with more promotions to come over the next few weeks. Members can see details in the Supplier Promotions section of the Orion App.

TVE Hire & Sales have posted some great Avant loader offers to the end of March, with great finance offers in place.

Farm XS are offering 10% discount to New Members joining their Farm Plastic Recycling Scheme.

Finally, Simpac are promoting a range of potato bags for Orion Members.

If you haven't yet got the Orion App and want to find the latest supplier promotions together with a lot of other features, please click on the button and fill out the contact details at the bottom of this page or contact Adam Donaldson on 07907 581094 or

Suppliers, if you would like to ensure all your details are up to date, and add in any promotional material for Orion Members, then please get in touch with Adam or fill in the contact details at the bottom of this page.


Orion welcomes FORT as a new supplier to the Group.




Cefetra Market Report: Late February 2024

We saw much of the same in terms of market action in the weeks following on from last months write up. Thankfully, there was some welcome respite last week as Liffe wheat futures bounced off recent lows, not seen since December 2019. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that this is on the back of any fundamental changes in S+D’s, more likely to be a retracement after such a big fall lower.

There are no real weather issues at present outside of Europe, which of course has seen significant rains for months. Worth noting that France and Germany have had better weather than the UK recently and remain in line with the 5-year average in terms of spring barley plantings. On the back of prolonged rains, new crop barley premiums have increased slightly as the trade begin to wonder whether the total planned spring barley area will be completed. After what is likely to be the wettest February on record here in the UK.

French export pace has crept higher than expected recently after more successful sales to the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa) as well as China. If this export pace is maintained throughout the rest of the season, then the French carry out may not be as significant as originally expected. This, added with persisting wet weather in Europe and poor winter crop conditions, could perhaps become important for prices going forward. Providing that Russia do not try to regain their export momentum and lower their values to become competitive, which could once again take the demand away from France. In which case France could end up much closer to the carry out that was originally expected, potentially one of the largest since 2005! This could unfortunately become the reality as Russia recently increased their export quota by 4 million tonnes, so will not be keen on missing sales.

Another factor that has historically had an effect on old crop values is the Brazilian Safrinha corn crop, which is being drilled at present. With favourable weather and drilling conditions over there, the current planting status of the crop is above the 5-year max average. So certainly no issues arising to worry the market for the time being.

The frustration with the markets does not appear to be going away just yet as the futures screen looks weaker at the time of writing. It appears funds are adding to short positions as there is little to no fundamental change on the global picture as explained previously. Over supply on the old crop remains at the forefront of everyone’s mind as various origins battle for export demand. When this is taken into account, it makes the dramatic fall in commodity prices seem a bit more justified, but by no means ideal. Values for most commodities sat in the shed unsold now are below the cost of production and new crop is becoming marginal I am told by growers. The high input costs for this years crop have been the real killer and we knew this year was always going to be a tough one.

As always, margins should be locked into if the market allows, this includes new crop – as you could argue that it is just as much of a risk in these times not to sell forward. Perhaps as we edge closer to this year’s harvest without much to sing and dance about in terms of what is in the ground and how it looks, the market might begin to have a different view on values. Until then, the oversupply is the real issue and the main driver of the market.

To find out more, please contact the team at Cefetra Grain: Simon Wilcox, Manager – UK Farm Grain Origination, 07774 822507,; Josef Grinczer, Farm Grain Buyer, 07712 325197, ; Ian Jervis, Farm Grain Buyer, 07497 185361,


Suppliers to Orion Members of all types of Agricultural Fencing and Building Products

Call the team on 01793 783879

Webbs Builders Merchants have been established for almost 51 years and either stock, or are able to obtain, almost any timber, landscape or building materials required for the farm, house & garden.

Webbs are suppliers to Members of Orion Farming Group and offer a discount to Orion Members.

Webbs are situated at Southdown Farm, Shrivenham just off the A420 between Swindon and Oxford; please visit for details.



Q2 mineral tender

An invitation has been sent to suppliers asking them to quote for the Group’s minerals for the Q2 period. Members will be informed towards the end of this month as to which supplier has been successful and awarded the tender.


Forage & Harvest order form

You should by now have received this order form, so if you’ll be needing silage sheets, bale wrap, netwrap or twine this season, please ensure you complete the form and return it to the office in good time. Orders will then be placed with the most competitive supplier. If you require a specific brand, please make sure you include all the details on the form.

Tote bags

As well as being supplied in 25kg bags many feed supplements and fats are also available in tote bags, which realise an additional discount. If tote bags could be incorporated into your system, with the minimum of disruption, please say so when placing your order.


Compound feed

The F&L committee will meet at the end of this month to make a decision as to which supplier(s) will be awarded the compound feed tender for the next year, Sep 24 – Aug 25. One factor taken into consideration is customer satisfaction, particularly in respect to product quality and customer service. This is given serious consideration during the decision-making process of the committee, so if you have any feedback either positive or negative or just any general observations you’d like to share, please phone or email the office.


Megalac alternative

For members currently including Megalac in their ration, there is an alternative, Envirolac. Envirolac is fats derived from veg & marine oils, instead of palm; also, it is rumen protected using cellulose, which means it’s heavy and sinks to the bottom of the rumen to pass through. It is 50% cellulose and 50% fat. Megalac is derived from palm oil. It is rumen protected using limestone flour, to form a calcium soap. As a result, it has a higher fat content at 84%. In theory you would need to feed a higher amount of Envirolac to get the same level of energy as Megalac. But Envirolac does not contain palm oil which may be more beneficial in certain circumstances.

And Finally…

Totally irrelevant but quite interesting festive facts of the month… The world’s deepest gold mine is nearly three miles deep and could hold ten Empire State Buildings stacked on top of one another and over 7,000 species of plants and animals have been cultivated for human consumption, but just four crops – rice, wheat, corn and potatoes – make up two-thirds of everything we eat.

For more details on any matter raised in the Feed & Livestock section, please contact Joe in the office: Joe Cobb, Feed & Livestock Manager,  01865 393 139


Vale Training Services

Course Availability for February and March 2024. Click HERE to book through our website or contact us at Vale Training Services Ltd., Marsh Hill Farm, Marsh, Aylesbury, HP17 8ST.

Tel: 01296 612201. Email:

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