Nidera is the latest national grain merchanting business to trade through the Graindex online portal that started operations last month.
Gleadell Agriculture, Glencore and Openfield are already using the portal, alongside a number of regional merchanting businesses including Bodle Bros, Charles Jackson & Co, Humber Grain, Robert Kerr Agriculture, Robin Appel, WellGrain and Witney Grain. Millers ADM and Heygates are also registered.
The platform is run by Graindex UK Ltd, a West Sussex-based business founded by web developer Jamie McInnes who married into a West Sussex farming business and Andrew Huxham, local arable farmer and a director of Chichester Grain. Mr McInnes is also behind the Sell My Livestock online cattle and sheep trading platform that launched last year (ATN June 6th 2014).
Graindex is an extension of the Sell My Livestock technology and business model, although the two companies are separate – the Graindex directors spent a year in adapting to the grain trade before launching in September. It is essentially a price comparison website, rather than online auction, but one that provides valuable feedback for both buyer and seller, says Mr Huxham, who is commercial director of the business.
Mr Huxham claims that 60% of the UK grain trade now participates in Graindex. “In the first four weeks alone, £750,000 worth of listings have been added to the site, 45% of which resulted in a sale in what remains a very difficult market.
“The uptake has gone way beyond our expectations,” he says. “We think this is because there’s no risk and no downside, so vendors are happy to put lots on there to try out the market.
“Anyone who registers as a seller also gets to see Graindex’s ex-farm prices which appear after each sale, giving invaluable live feedback. We want to provide as much market information as possible so vendors can make informed decisions on when to sell.”
Mr Huxham says the site has “several hundred” sellers registered from across the UK, with an average offer of 290 tonnes – or ten 29 tonne loads. At present it is free for sellers and buyers to register while the site builds its traffic, but there will be a charge eventually.
Andy Hoyles, head of farm business at Openfield, describes Graindex as a great opportunity to get better data and understand what’s going on in the market. “Online trading in some form or another is inevitable and for us Graindex ticks all the boxes,” he says.