Carr’s feed volumes up despite dairy squeeze

A pre-close trading update from the Carr’s Group ahead of its August 29th year end, reports increased sales for its domestic and international feed businesses in the 19 weeks to July 11th 2015.

The UK operation Carr’s Billington Agriculture saw feed volumes increase during the period, despite a tough market backdrop.  The dairy sector particularly saw farm incomes affected by low farmgate milk prices, with a consequent negative impact on both feed margins and sales of the company’s Aminomax rumen bypass protein brand.

The relatively mild winter and abundance of quality winter forage in the UK also reduced demand for Carr’s Crystalyx feedblocks. But its Scotmin subsidiary achieved sales growth in the period, primarily through the Megastart and Quattromag brands.

Internationally, the company’s feedblock sales are up year-on-year. It grew market share in the US, with volumes growing there as beef breeding herds continued to restock after the drought conditions in many areas of the country.

Carrs’ UK retail chain performed ahead of both last year and the board’s expectations. The company now has a network of 30 stores with two new openings at Selkirk and Rothbury this month plus the acquisition of Reid & Robertson (ATN May 22nd) to expand the footprint into West Scotland.

However, the decline in dairy farm incomes has put pressure on Carr’s farm machinery business, although it reports a positive performance.

“Despite Carr’s continuing to operate in mixed market conditions, we remain confident that the Group will meet the board’s expectations for the full year,” states chief executive Tim Davies. “This confidence is due to the breadth of the Group’s geographical footprint and its ongoing commitment to, and investment in, assets and innovation.”