Cereals

Collecting grain is one of Maïsadour's first core businesses and the basis for its development. It involves all farmers working with various entities in the Group. The Maïsadour Cooperative Group is the leading maize collector in Europe, collecting 900,000 tonnes, 95% of which is maize.

 

The objectives of the grain business are as follows:



Creating value for farmers

The whole purpose of the Maïsadour cooperative is to promote the products that its members produce, for whom maize is a vital crop

A dynamic approach to customers

In direct contact with the end users of the grain, the Group is equipped to ensure food safety, traceability and potential specifications to meet the requirements of the food processing industry as well as those of customers.

Far from seeing maize as your average raw material, the Maïsadour Cooperative Group is in constant dialogue with its strategic customers across the entire supply chain. Availability, logistics, quality and production methods are anticipated as far as possible to control weather-related risks. This is a vital variable in matching supply and demand on grain markets.

By using this customer-oriented approach, the Maïsadour Cooperative Group has become the leading producer of waxy maize (maize with special starch rich in amylopectin) with a 40% European market share. Through this approach it has also become a forerunner in the production of other special types of maize such as "high amylose" maize.

The Group's ability to market significant volumes is a determining factor in a medium-term partnership with a large-scale manufacturer. As well as our own members' productions, the Maïsadour Cooperative Group is a driving force behind the marketing of other collectors' crops on a regional level. The Maïsadour Cooperative Group therefore requires flawless reliability in implementing the commitments it takes on the quantity, quality, price and deadlines.

 

A professional Quality approach

As well as any potential private specifications from large-scale customers, the Maïsadour Cooperative Group has invested both in its own Quality approach as well as a collective regional approach. A certified HACCP system that conforms to the "CSA-GTP" Food Safety Charter, under the management of Coop de France and the Agricultural Traders Federation (FNA), was implemented. The Maïsadour cooperative and the Agralia subsidiary are both certified and feature on the lists of CSA-GTP certified companies.

Collective approach established in 1999 at GIE MAÏSICA's port silo in Bayonne, the 'Charte Qualité Maïs classe A' (Class A Maize Quality Charter) formerly known as the 'Charte Qualité Maïs Grand Sud-Ouest' is a commitment:

With information from members and their involvement, the certification that is signed every year by each producer is the starting point for our traceability approach.
The Maïsadour Cooperative Group is a founding member of this Charter, which is recognised throughout Europe. Philippe Clavé, the Group Grain Manager, is currently the president of the association responsible for the Charter.

 

Contractual productions

In the world commodity market, France is not best placed to tackle the volume/price competition of large exporting countries for whom agriculture is a major resource in foreign currency. The production of "special" maize, however, demands a high level of knowledge and organisation, which are rarely found in large mass-producing and exporting countries.

Guided by this analysis, the Maïsadour Cooperative Group developed an interest in "speciality" maizes, such as Waxy, Waxipro and High Amylose. The Group is undisputedly the leading producer of these products in Europe. These types of maize are grown under contract between farmers and the Cooperative Group and provide added value for farmers. They promote the collective knowledge of the Group and its members in production, traceability and drying-storing. They are better than standard maize in bearing the extra shipping costs of small-volume ships that can be loaded by port silos in the region.

These types of maize currently represent around 30% of the Group's maize production.

 

Professional upport for farmers

The Maïsadour Cooperative Group provides farmers with a wide range of solutions to set the price of what they harvest.

The traditional cooperative system, consisting of an initial payment + price supplements, is always popular since it allows farmers to make the most of the Group's market knowledge.

Several formulas are always available for farmers who want to play an active role in setting the price of their harvests. This formulas are based on fixed price, indexed to the Euronext futures market or on derivative products.

The Maïsadour Cooperative Group provides farmers with the advice they need to choose their strategy according to what they want, how their farm is organised and how risk-averse they are. The Group also supports them in planning their price-setting decisions, which are real management choices. These subjects are dealt with on a daily basis by the Group's farming advisors and also during "market" training sessions organised by the Group's Grain department.

 

Securing our margins in a context of increased market volatility.

As the link between farmers and grain manufacturers, and indeed as a manufacturer itself with its market price grain, the Maïsadour Cooperative Group just like any company must achieve a margin to cover operating costs, with enough left over to renew industrial equipment and confront future risks.

To this end, the Group is striving on the one hand to draw upon its varied and balanced outlets, and on the other to reduce the various risks inherent in the activity within the global context.

 

Varied and balanced outlets

The Group's outlet template contains many business areas spread across many local areas with a mix that provides a good level of security.  

Half is made up of local animal-based industries (Sud-Ouest-Aliment, added-value opportunities on the farm) as well as bioethanol industries (Abengoa Bioenergy France through the OCEOL holding), while the other half is shared between large-scale grain industries in Northern Europe and local markets in Northern Spain.

 

Managing price volatility and market risk

The grain CMO (Common Market Organisation) such as it currently exists has practically destroyed any communal protection that previous versions of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) provided. In practice, the European market is the world market, and it is subject to wild fluctuations according to the worldwide supply/demand balance as well as to variations in climate in particular. Price with high variations from one campaign to another or even within the same campaign are now commonplace.

The risk level in the Maïsadour Cooperative Group's commercial operations has sharply risen. Faced with this reality, a risk management policy was drawn up, which featured a "Management framework" that was approved by the Board of Directors and which is regularly reviewed when necessary.

This Management framework complies with Coop de France's 2013 Good Practices Charter which covers price risk management.


Optimising our industrial and logistical organisation

The Maïsadour Cooperative Group collects between 800,000 and 1,000,000 tonnes according to the year's climatic conditions. In fact aproximatly 50% of production is irrigated mainly in the region south of the Adour. Even though the climate in this region is overall highly favourable to maize, it is remarkably variable especially during the summer, a critical time of year for maize. The North-Adour area has fully irrigated crops with high potential.

The profession fundamentals are strictly observed as a strict planning to dry the corn as soon as possible after the harvest and observation of a good storage practices for safe preservation of grain based on cooling through ventilation during winter.

We must be highly responsive to adapt our operations to handle changes in quantity and humidity from one harvest to another, as well as changes in customers' immediate requirements.
The industrial equipment network is made up of 85 collection centres and silos in Aquitaine and Midi-Pyrénées, five of which have a rail connection (Tartas, Cazères-sur-l’Adour, Haut-Mauco, Laluque and Aire-sur-l'Adour). As one of the main shareholders in Silos d'Aquitaine and GIE Maïsica, both of which are ISO 9001 and CSA-GTP certified, the Maïsadour Cooperative Group has a presence in the ports of Bordeaux and Bayonne.

Grain is a heavy product with a low unit price and so transportation costs are a significant burden to bear in the grain supply chain. With the aim of providing farmers with a high level of service in terms of the proximity of collecting equipment whilst at the same time reducing logistics costs as much as possible, the Maïsadour Cooperative Group has created important synergies with neighbouring cooperative groups by pooling resources. Though some of these synergies are long-standing, such as the jointly-owned port silos, others are more recent. That is why, since 2010, we have been jointly managing the collecting-drying silos and the associated operations with Vivadour and Euralis, in the areas where both cooperatives are present. This is to mutually benefit the members of all the Groups involved.

 

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