When we heard of the online business-to-business trading platform, YAGRO, which offers to reduce costs of inputs we wanted to know more and invited Dan Jolly, YAGRO Business Development Manager, to answer our questions.

At JVFG we are the elite benchmarking group for labour and machinery costs, helping our member joint venture businesses to measure and to significantly reduce expenditure.  Of course we have an eye on other costs too. JVFG member James Thorp says he saved £75,000 on agrochemical costs in a year with a smarter buying policy. So how much further could these costs be brought down by buying differently?

Why is now the time to be buying agricultural inputs online?

“Labour costs are rising, there’s pressure on yields and commodity prices: every business has to scrutinise whether it is getting the best value for the purchases made. Technology can help us more easily find the best deals, and save huge amounts of time in the process. I heard Dr Tina Barsby, NIAB, say “it’s not the fundamentals that’ll change in agriculture but the tools that help us deliver them”. We are already seeing use of tech tools in Germany, France, USA and Australia, and YAGRO is part of the digital revolution in agriculture here in the UK.”

How does YAGRO Marketplace help?

“YAGRO Marketplace is a business-to-business trading platform that connects buyers to sellers. It allows farms to quickly find the best deals on their inputs, working on a real-time, request-quote structure. You can keep control of all of your input spend, in one place – on mobile via the YAGRO app, or online from your office. YAGRO works for suppliers as well, enabling them to quote alternative dates, products, volumes etc as they seek to find the deal that works best for them too. Essentially, YAGRO uses clever technology to help find the deal that works best for both sides. There’s also a huge time saving. 

Which inputs does the marketplace trade in?

“Come to us for fuel, fertilisers, seed, parts and supplies and more. For fuel, for example, we deal with 96% of fuel suppliers in the UK and can offer 100% coverage. When you log in and enter how much fuel you want and by when you can get a bespoke response from each supplier detailing terms, delivery and of course price. YAGRO is totally agnostic and independent, you simply choose the deal you want.”

Why is this better than a buying group? 

“YAGRO puts the control back with the true decision-maker. By doing so we can help take cost out of the supply chain, which benefits farms. The YAGRO technology helps develop leaner suppliers by reducing admin costs, generating savings on logistics and providing a platform where both farm and supplier can make more informed decisions. We are well on the way to our short-term target of 10% savings. YAGRO Marketplace is also free for farms, so there’s no levy to pay. We don’t have hundreds of people answering phones, our technology connects you directly with your suppliers. So there is significant time saving too.

Is there a risk we destroy relationships with suppliers?

“The farm is in total control all the time. You can choose the suppliers you want to deal with, and remain as loyal as you would like. It’s up to you. The best suppliers get your business. You will also be able to rate the product and rate the supplier and that feedback is shared with other customers.”

And what is YAGRO Ag Chem Price Check for?

“We have had to build ‘Ag Chem Price Check’ as the big suppliers of chemicals were not willing to quote farms on YAGRO. This was interesting as agrochemicals are the highest cost inputs farms buy, and there is very little price transparency when compared with other inputs. YAGRO ‘Ag Chem Price Check’ is granular level benchmarking for farms, using farm invoices to ensure the information is totally verified. It is also completely confidential and anonymous. You are able to see where your price scores against an aggregated scale of prices from your peers. And the spread in prices are unreal! Ag Chem Price Check gives farms a tool to allow them to be much more informed, and be able to negotiate more effectively with their suppliers on one of the biggest spends on farm.”

How could this help JVFG members?

“Benchmarking in JVFG detail puts you at a huge advantage compared to other businesses on your labour and machinery and decision-making. YAGRO Price Check would enable you to ‘benchmark’ the price you pay for your inputs. There is significant savings to be had, as you’ve seen on your labour and machinery benchmarking, and it will be the same on chemical spend.”