6 September 1996

MALTING GROUP SWEARS BY IT

MEMBERSHIP of Scottish Quality Cereals is now standard for the group of 55 farmers producing 22,000t a year of malting barley for the Highland Grain co-operative based at Inverness.

Chairman Alan Whiteford says it is a credible scheme which offers customers all the reassurance they require. "Our organisation was set up as a group of farmers producing a quality product and it was natural that we would want to offer the traceability and transparency that is part and parcel of the SQC scheme. "I think we have the only group that is offering a big bulk of malting barley with this level of assurance," says Mr Whiteford.

The key to the SQC scheme is record keeping. "There must be a complete record from seed to harvest. Not only are all applications of fertiliser and pesticides noted, but the time, weather conditions and an assurance that only approved chemicals have been used are also recorded.

"Those details and standards of machinery, handling and storage are all part and parcel of a scheme which is rigorously enforced and has real teeth."n