16 August 2002

Grain firms set sail for bigger export share

TWO grain companies have announced plans to secure a bigger share of the export market this season.

Centaur Grain, one of the UKs largest grain-marketing co-ops, will be exporting out of Lowestoft, Suffolk, for the first time.

It will accept grain on an averaged basis, taking the average quality of loads submitted by farmers. This will reduce the chance of deductions from problems like high moisture or low specific weights, says Centaur.

The firm has already filled three vessels out of Lowestoft. Most boats will be small coasters transporting cereals to European countries like Spain.

"With some people expecting the total UK wheat harvest to be approximately 17.5m tonnes, wheat exports will play a significant role in the market this year," says trading director Graham Lacey.

Dalgety has secured exclusive use of the deep-water export facility at Teesport, Middlesbrough, allowing it to ship grain around the world on vessels carrying up to 50,000t.

"This provides another outlet for grain in the north-east," says the companys regional grain manager Mark Smith. "It also brings export markets that bit closer to farmers, which, in such a large surplus season, will be critical."

Although final crop size and quality will dictate the export pace, Mr Smith expects Dalgety to ship a "six-figure volume" from the port this season. &#42