10 April 1998

Grain buyers abusing code with dirty trucks

By Charles Abel

FARMER fears that grain buyers are abusing the very standards they are demanding through grain assurance schemes have been confirmed by the haulage trade.

"Some big grain buyers have no intention of putting the UKASTA haulage code into practice," says Malcolm Stennet of Stennets Transport, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. "Buyers are letting lorries tip without doing the checks they should."

That could be mean grain is supplied in lorry trailers which are contaminated with items from UKASTAs exclusion list, he claims. The list clearly bans such trailers, even if they have been washed out, he stresses.

"We need the industry to back its calls for traceability and assurance with action. If they dont the national Press could get hold of something and the effects of that dont bear thinking about," says Mr Stennet.

Dedicated system

He advocates a dedicated trailer numbering system which is easy to check from the intake office. That would overcome the problem of different trailers being used on the same number plate.

"A truck turning up with a clean grain trailer one day can return the next day with a different, possibly contaminated, trailer bearing exactly the same number. Drivers say the trailer is clean and intake offices take his word for it."

The top four or five buyers should demand dedicated trailer numbering from May 1 to reassure the industry, says Mr Stennet, who represents a group of like-minded hauliers with 44,000t of haulage capacity.

"They did it with Easisheets in 10 days. If we want to maintain premium milling and malting markets we need to ensure we dont get tripped up."