Brian Leadley

Chairman United Wheat Growers, Vice Chair Federated Farmers Arable Industry Group

Brian is an arable farmer running a 430-hectare farming business in mid Canterbury with his wife Rachel. He grew up on a farm and has been farming all his life. Brian believes communication and collaboration between the sectors of the baking industry is crucial.

His presentation at the Technology Transfer Seminar aimed to give bakers a farmer perspective on the industry.  Brian says arable farmers see wheat as a reliable performing crop so have invested heavily to ensure their ability to reliably supply quality produce that consistently meets the requirements of buyers.

Sustainability is a key focus for arable farmers to ensure their long term survival. “Pricing remains a driver to farmers researching all crop options when planning crop plantings,” says Brian. “It has always been an influencing factor between feed wheat and milling wheat and with the demand from the dairy sector for stock feed that is likely to remain.”

Challenges for wheat producers include chemical resistance, environmental costs, public influence on key issues such as water and land management, and international issues such as border control, sea freight and grain values.

Advantages for the New Zealand include a record of high quality grain and excellent traceability, crop rotations, production reliability, capacity and industry investment. Brian sees future opportunity in niche markets, industry relationships and collaboration, increased domestic consumption, production efficiencies and increased production. “Arable farmers love growing wheat and are well positioned to take advantage of any opportunity to increase production.”

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