Agricultural distribution and supply companies are working to minimise disruption to the logistics of getting products to farms, which could come about due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Agrii already has a large amount of plant protection products in its main store in Alconbury, Cambridgeshire and delivers to each of its depots every night.
Head of crop protection, Chris Glover says: “Product volumes are planned months in advance, though we have been amending our forecasts continually as we gather more information from our 250 agronomists on what acreage of each crop we are expecting in the ground, given the poor autumn. A lot of our products are already in the UK.
“Because of our large capacity at Alconbury, we are priming the pump by bringing product stored by external companies into Agrii – getting it into our possession to mitigate against any issues they might have such as staff shortages.
“Our large storage capacity gives us confidence, as far as we can be, that we have stock ready to go.”
With some crop protection manufacturers Mr Glover says Agrii is starting to see delays in one or two products coming from the continent. “If manufacturers are reliant on supply chains in Europe, and many are, the industry is at the mercy of what happens with those but so far, so good.
“Even if there is a delay with one of our suppliers, because of our breadth of supply there are alternatives we can offer and we can generally find a way to supply the right product, technically.”
Mr Glover says there has been an upturn in demand for products recently. “Certain customers have made it clear that they want to take in a level of product to ensure they have some lined up, particularly to meet crop requirements in the near future.”
Agronomy services delivered by the company are continuing, with crop walking as normal, but following Government advice. “If customers are still happy to have engagements, observing some distance, we will do them but if the customer does not want a physical visit, we are happy to conduct a discussion over the phone or via one of the video conferencing applications.”
Hutchinsons says it is committed to an evidence-led and common sense approach to containing the Covid 19 coronavirus outbreak and mitigating its impact on customers, colleagues and wider business operations.
In a statement sent to customers, chairman David Hutchinson, chairman of the company says: “We already have plans in place for our business with you to continue as normal with a high percentage of spring stock in each depot.
“Many colleagues, including agronomists, work from home and have the technology to provide service continuation remotely if necessary.”
Hutchinsons head of marketing Nick Rainsley says product delivery drivers are disinfecting themselves and their vehicles when coming on to and going off farms. “No-one has so far said don’t come but some growers have asked for a phone call before the delivery.
“Growers are thinking more about the number of deliveries. Where some would normally order fairly regularly, people are looking to bulk products together so fewer deliveries are required.”
Wynnstay national sales manager, Ian Simpson says following the latest Government advice, the company is adopting sensible farm calling measures which protect its staff and the wider community.
“Some farm calls are essential and need to continue following explicit customer approval, such as crop walking, forage and feed sampling, soil sampling and issues in relation to livestock.
“Prior to any visits, the team of Wynnstay farm advisors are contacting customers directly to confirm they’re happy for farm calls, and are adhering to high hygiene standards, including cleaning of equipment.
“Wynnstay is most certainly open for business, and we will endeavour to serve our customers to the best of our ability during these times of adversity.”