Life after serviced agronomy.

Phil P

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
North West
Some may remember a thread I posted last year about moving away from serviced agronomy and shopping around for ag chem or possibly joining a buying group.

It was a tough decision to make after dealing with the same company for a very long time, both my grandad a dad both delt with them but I was ready for a change and felt it was time to shake things up a bit.

Anyway as most will know it’s been a quite (and cheap) few months on the agronomy side due to the weather! However it’s now that time of year when the chem bills start rolling in?, herbicides, T1, etc etc

Well, after my first couple of orders all I can say is wow! I honestly can’t believe the price differences when buying ag chem’s. Just by shopping round for prices I’ll already have saved best part of 2K this year, which more than pays for the time it takes to get a few quotes.

So when will serviced agronomy be put a stop to? I’ll be honest it’s a big step to move away from it but up to now I’d totally recommend shopping round for your ag chem, it will pay for its self!
 

solo

Member
Location
worcestershire
Glad to hear you’ve had your lightbulb moment. I did the same back in the early1990’s. The savings the first few years were 10% but pricing got more competitive and there was barely 1 or 2% difference some years.The last few years there has been a greater variation again, but I think that is more to do with getting market share than products actually being cheaper. It has been quite noticeable how certain products have a price floor, so other products on the order will be more heavily discounted because they aren’t price fixed as a way round this.
 

Farmer Fin

Member
Location
Aberdeenshire
Some may remember a thread I posted last year about moving away from serviced agronomy and shopping around for ag chem or possibly joining a buying group.

It was a tough decision to make after dealing with the same company for a very long time, both my grandad a dad both delt with them but I was ready for a change and felt it was time to shake things up a bit.

Anyway as most will know it’s been a quite (and cheap) few months on the agronomy side due to the weather! However it’s now that time of year when the chem bills start rolling in?, herbicides, T1, etc etc

Well, after my first couple of orders all I can say is wow! I honestly can’t believe the price differences when buying ag chem’s. Just by shopping round for prices I’ll already have saved best part of 2K this year, which more than pays for the time it takes to get a few quotes.

So when will serviced agronomy be put a stop to? I’ll be honest it’s a big step to move away from it but up to now I’d totally recommend shopping round for your ag chem, it will pay for its self!
Can you elaborate on the 2k? Is it from straight cheaper product / swaps or less product / rate? I have looked and I don’t seem to come in much cheaper when comparing like for like. My guy sends me his price with the recs and knows I check. Do the individual agronomists have the ability to change the price within a serviced company?
 

britt

Member
BASE UK Member
Are you doing the agronomy yourself or do you have an independent ?
A good agronomist will often give an alternative product or mix that is cheaper than one that the company agronomist is pushing. It's not just about price per can for product X. Or will often say that a spray is just not cost effective and not to bother at all.
Join a buying group it takes away the time you spend on phoning around and the size of their overall order gives them clout.
 

Phil P

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
North West
Can you elaborate on the 2k? Is it from straight cheaper product / swaps or less product / rate? I have looked and I don’t seem to come in much cheaper when comparing like for like. My guy sends me his price with the recs and knows I check. Do the individual agronomists have the ability to change the price within a serviced company?
It’s from most of them reasons, for one I usually buy manganese sulphate by the pallet, I’ve saved over £400 on what I paid from my serviced agronomist last year!
some of the chem’s there’s a price difference of £30 a can, and some has been substituted for an alternative tank mix.

Are you doing the agronomy yourself or do you have an independent ?
A good agronomist will often give an alternative product or mix that is cheaper than one that the company agronomist is pushing. It's not just about price per can for product X. Or will often say that a spray is just not cost effective and not to bother at all.
Join a buying group it takes away the time you spend on phoning around and the size of their overall order gives them clout.

I’m now using an independent Agronomist, I’ve been trying to walk the crops with him and we can discuss the options before any recommendations are made. Joining a buying group is still an option, however due to the weather over winter I wasn’t sure if I’d see a return on the internal cost. Though I’d see what I can do and decide later in the year.
 
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Phil P

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
North West
Can you elaborate on the 2k? Is it from straight cheaper product / swaps or less product / rate? I have looked and I don’t seem to come in much cheaper when comparing like for like. My guy sends me his price with the recs and knows I check. Do the individual agronomists have the ability to change the price within a serviced company?

ps, is your guy paid by the acre or on a serviced basses?
 

Yale

Member
Livestock Farmer
It’s from most of them reasons, for one I usually buy manganese sulphate by the pallet, I’ve saved over £400 on what I paid from my serviced agronomist last year!
some of the chem’s there’s a price difference of £30 a can, and some has been substituted for an alternative tank mix.



I’m now using an independent Agronomist, I’ve been trying to walk the crops with him and we can discuss the options before any recommendations are made.

Walking with the agronomist and learning from him/her is the best way.

There is nothing stopping you gaining most of the knowledge to do it yourself.

You can also factor in ‘what if I don’t apply this or that’ as a salesman will always sell.
 

Fromebridge

Member
BASIS
Location
Glos
Do the individual agronomists have the ability to change the price within a serviced company?

If you need to ask the price, you can't afford them.
Seriously though, most of their business is with growers who don't ask the p[rice, just let them get on with it, so the concept of bargaining over price doesn't come up very often, I wouldn't think.
 

puppet

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
sw scotland
As a non-arable farmer can I politely ask why there is such a need for agronomists? After a few years you will know and recognise what diseases are around, have done lots of soil sampling and should recognise most weeds.
Does the advice vary by much each year? Why not walk through your own crops?
 

Phil P

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
North West
As a non-arable farmer can I politely ask why there is such a need for agronomists? After a few years you will know and recognise what diseases are around, have done lots of soil sampling and should recognise most weeds.
Does the advice vary by much each year? Why not walk through your own crops?
As much as I’d love to do my BASIS and do it myself I really do have a shocking memory and struggle to remember chemistry and wouldn’t trust myself! Crop walking is something I’m working on and slowly picking up what to be looking out for.
 

britt

Member
BASE UK Member
As a non-arable farmer can I politely ask why there is such a need for agronomists? After a few years you will know and recognise what diseases are around, have done lots of soil sampling and should recognise most weeds.
Does the advice vary by much each year? Why not walk through your own crops?
New products come, old ones go.
Prices vary from season to the next, favouring one product over another and regulations may change. There is a lot to keep up with.
You will also need to have advice from a BASIS qualified person for farm assurance.
They will be getting industry updates and know what pest and diseases are emerging at that time or that particular season.
 

Boysground

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Wiltshire
As much as I’d love to do my BASIS and do it myself I really do have a shocking memory and struggle to remember chemistry and wouldn’t trust myself! Crop walking is something I’m working on and slowly picking up what to be looking out for.

I did BASIS and FACTS, but still employ an agronomist, this is because with all the other things I have to do in our business I can’t keep up with legislation changes, new chemicals etc etc. I really recommend you do the courses, I found the way I spoke the agronomist changed and I had so much more understanding with what we are planning.

I had the same doubts about doing the courses, it’s not easy but then it shouldn’t be and I have no doubt you will surprise yourself and get through, the practical experience you have is invaluable.

Don’t forget some of the best money you can spend going down this route is a NIAB Tag membership. I don’t go to enough meetings but without fail I learn something when I go, often from other members.

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ajd132

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Suffolk
I did BASIS and FACTS, but still employ an agronomist, this is because with all the other things I have to do in our business I can’t keep up with legislation changes, new chemicals etc etc. I really recommend you do the courses, I found the way I spoke the agronomist changed and I had so much more understanding with what we are planning.

I had the same doubts about doing the courses, it’s not easy but then it shouldn’t be and I have no doubt you will surprise yourself and get through, the practical experience you have is invaluable.

Don’t forget some of the best money you can spend going down this route is a NIAB Tag membership. I don’t go to enough meetings but without fail I learn something when I go, often from other members.

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Niab membership is probably our best investment every year.
 

LIVE - DEFRA SFI Janet Hughes “ask me anything” 19:00-20:00 20th September (Today)

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Hello, I’m Janet Hughes. I’m the Programme Director for the Future Farming and Countryside Programme in Defra – the programme that’s phasing out the Common Agricultural Policy and introducing new schemes and services for farmers.



Today (20 September) between 7pm-8pm, I and some of my colleagues will be answering your questions about our work including the Sustainable Farming Incentive, Farming in Protected Landscapes, and our test and trials.



We’ll try to answer at least 15 of your top voted questions, so please vote on the questions you’d most like me to answer.



You can read more about our Future Farming policy on our blog.



I’ve answered some of your questions previously: you can watch the videos on...
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