23 January 1998

Join ACCS, store users urged

FARMERS using some central stores are being encouraged to join the Assured Combinable Crops Scheme quickly to avoid logistical problems which could cut profits.

Hants-based co-op SCATS administers three stores in Kent, Hants and Wilts handling 130,000t of crop for nearly 500 members. The company wants 100% assurance by this coming harvest.

Recent meetings to explain the scheme attracted more than 400 farmers. "The general reaction was very positive. About 20% of members have already applied," says grain development manager Rob Sander-son. "But there are a small number of growers who have concerns."

The assured majority would continue to benefit from grading in store by variety and quality to ensure top prices and minimum claims. But non-assured members could lose out. "We could segregate some non-assured crops. But if we were looking at a little bit of everything, it could create a problem," he says. Kent store Grain Harvesters hopes all quality crops will be assured by harvest 1999. "We already have a very complicated grading system, grading by variety and quality. To duplicate that would make things exceedingly difficult," says managing director, Brian Maxted.

He wants all 180 farmer customers, who supply 35,000t of cereals, to be assured. At a meeting of 160 growers last week the mood was "reluctant acceptance". Forced membership is not likely, he adds.