17 August 2001

Checklist will help cereal growers get better grain deals

CEREAL growers have been advised to battle for better trading terms when selling grain, or run the risk of being taken for a ride by unscrupulous traders.

The warning came as the NFU, Home-Grown Cereals Authority and other industry bodies launched the Cereal Sellers Checklist, which aims to help growers cut down on contract claims and allowances, estimated to cost the industry £25m/year.

"No one can afford to waste money on these claims," said Marie Skinner, chairman of HGCA Market Information. "Even a small deduction can take a farm from profit to loss."

The checklist contains 12 points growers should consider when agreeing a contract and delivering on it. The document stresses that farmers must read and understand the terms of the contract and agree any special terms with the merchant.

"You can use the special terms part of a UKASTA contract to your advantage," said Beds farmer Peter Kendall. "Weighbridge charges average £7.50/load. You can write in the contract that there will be no such charges and if the merchant wants your business, hell accept it."

The checklist also highlights the importance of knowing grain quality before agreeing terms by taking representative samples and having them analysed.

For further details contact NFU Callfirst (0870-845 8458 or www.nfunet.org.uk). &#42