Investors in agricultural and retail group Wynnstay were told of how trading in the first four months of the year has been "encouraging" on Tuesday, as they gathered for the company's annual general meeting.
The AIM-traded firm reportedly saw increased demand for most products, which the board said reflected the general improvement in output prices and farmer sentiment - especially among dairy farmers - which came after two years of "very depressed" pricing, often below the realistic cost of production.
"In the agricultural Division, current feed demand is above last year's levels and we are seeing efficiency benefits from our investment at our Llansantffraid feed mill," said Wynnstay chief executive Ken Greetham.
"Sales of fertiliser have started to increase after tempered autumn demand, and we expect a busy trading period ahead of the spring market."
Greetham said Wynnstay's specialist fertiliser production facility at Montrose in Scotland, which was acquired in November, would also make a contribution to volumes.
"Grain volumes are improving, although margins remain under pressure, reflecting the wider UK market.
"Demand for spring seed is encouraging, with most orders already on the books for the season.
"Over the year, we plan to invest in our seed facility at Astley, supporting Wynnstay's position as the UK's third largest seed producer, as well as in our feed mills."
In the specialist retail division, comprising Wynnstay;s agricultural stores business, like-for-like sales in the first four months of the new financial year were higher year-on-year, Greetham said, adding that the board was "optimistic" that the trend would continue.
"In November, we acquired a further outlet, M D Lloyd, located in mid-Wales, as part of the ongoing development of our network.
"We are also continuing to expand our other routes to market, through our dairy and sheep & beef catalogues, and our sales van operation.
"There are still important seasonal trading months ahead, but we are encouraged by the group's performance in the new financial year so far."