As part of the Sustainable Futures initiative that Muntons are closely involved with, frequent events are arranged to bring together farmers, grain merchants, soil scientists and other stakeholders involved throughout the supply chain, including: Heineken, Diageo, Coca-Cola, WWF and Yorkshire Water. Events include farm visits, site tours, speaker presentations and group discussions, which provide a platform to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and best practice, as well as finding ways to measure and further improve sustainability.
The latest event, “Barley- Walk the Supply Chain”, was hosted at our Bridlington site in East Yorkshire, on the 21st November 2017. This event was attended by 35 farmers, traders and environmental organisations to explore the supply chain of barley, from growing to malting. The event started off with an introduction to Muntons and the challenges and opportunities that the malt market presents.
Later a presentation was given by Angus Gowthrope, a barley, linseed and wheat farmer. Starting at the beginning of the barley supply chain, Angus informed the group about the sustainable farming techniques that he has adopted, with a focus on improving soil structure through zero tillage farming. Engaging in discussions with the other farmers about the benefit that zero tillage had brought to his farm; Angus highlighted a successful example where switching to more sustainable farming methods led to minimising fertiliser inputs, a reduction in farm equipment and fuel usage and improved drought resistance, which had allowed him to reduce his on-farm costs considerably. Following this, a presentation was given by Neil Fuller who shared his in-depth understanding of soil science, drawing attention to the wider environmental impact that protecting soils can bring to farmers, grain merchants and environmental organisations. These presentations encouraged important group discussions and provided practical learning that farmers could take back to the farm.
Moving on to the next stage of the Barley supply chain, the group attended a tour of the Maltings. During this tour, farmers conveyed their interest in the malting process and the sustainable investments on site. The farmers expressed the value of being able to see the processes that their barley goes through, giving farmers a greater understanding of the significant role they have in supplying the high quality sustainably grown barley required by Muntons. A value that is then passed onto Muntons’ customers.
This event was yet another remarkable success for the Sustainable Futures initiative, with farmers and merchants sharing valuable experiences. It provides a shining example of how everybody has a part to play in creating a sustainable supply chain, and each stakeholder stands to benefit from doing this. Collaborating along the barley supply chain provides the chance for different actors to gain an understanding into the varied problems and challenges faced along the chain and how working together they can overcome these and create a greater environmental impact.