Eastern counties co-operative Fengrain has expanded its grain store at March, Cambs, and unveiled a 10-year plan to develop a “concept plant” in central grain storage.

A £400,000 investment in new silos increases storage by 5000t, bringing the site’s total capacity to 80,000t for harvest 2006.

Speaking at an open day last week, chief executive Mark Isaacson told members Fengrain had invested over £0.5m in the March plant in the last five years.

The expansion also represented a significant step towards supplying the growing biofuels market, he added.

Fengrain planned to boost store capacity to 116,000t, with improved intake facilities capable of 250t per hour.

“Existing planning permission allows us to expand further with new silos, adding an extra 32,000t of storage space,” said Mr Isaacson.

Recent months had seen renewed interest in central storage, he said.

“The market is becoming increasingly sophisticated  and on many farms, grain stores are dated and in need of repair.”

Buyers specifications and food assurance regulations were becoming ever more stringent, he added.