7 April 2000

Milling wheat grower aims to avoid ACCS

By Amanda Dunn

ACCORDING to ACCS, most milling wheat growers have now joined up with the scheme. But one Berks-based milling wheat grower is bucking the trend.

Colin Rayner grows 3000t of wheat aimed at premium milling markets every year. He hopes production standards superior to ACCS and volume sales will secure him markets without resorting to the expense of scheme registration.

"We deal with four large merchants and have already sold forward 700t of harvest 2000 Soissons milling wheat with no discount for non-assurance," he says.

"Our intention is to carry on marketing in the same manner, with the same merchants unless we find ourselves substantially discounted. The merchants we deal with know we dont intend to join ACCS – weve told them they must either pay our registration cost for us, or carry on as normal, or lose our business."

So far, all have verbally confirmed they will continue to trade with Mr Rayner irrespective of ACCS registration. "Not one of them has mentioned discounts for the forthcoming harvest," he adds.

On his Berkyn Manor farm, inputs are carefully monitored and recorded, machinery calibrated and maintained, and staff trained appropriately. Particular attention is paid to grain storage, with routine standards exceeding those required by ACCS.

"Weve been producing and storing grain to a higher standard than ACCS for many years."

Mr Rayner does not agree with paying for third-party inspections, so recently two staff members attended a ACCS standards course.

"We needed to be confident we met all protocols, so two senior employees went on a course to check just that. With the exception of changing a few light coverings nothing additional was required."

No load of grain collected from Berkyn Manor has ever been rejected due to a safety issue.

"We weigh and take a sample of each load at intake. We then carry out moisture, bushel and screenings tests and record these together with tractor and trailer identification. Intake and store destination is also noted. At any point, for each store, we know the grain source and quality.

"We then monitor the grain closely and record our findings throughout the storage season. Were not going to keep £240,000 worth of grain in store without looking after it," he stresses.

Quality of storage at Berkyn Manor is sufficient that a local mill has verbally confirmed storage of 4-5000t of ex-farm milling wheat on the non-ACCS site from harvest 2000.

Mr Rayner is determined to do everything possible to avoid joining the ACCS scheme.

"Weve already invited merchants and the millers they trade with to visit so they can see our standards for themselves. While to date they havent found it necessary, we would be prepared to make a contribution to their expenses if required." &#42

NON ACCS MILLING STRATEGY

&#8226 Exemplary production standards.

&#8226 Large volume sales.

&#8226 All milling wheats: Soissons, Rialto and Consort for biscuit.

&#8226 Open inspection invite to mills and merchants.

&#8226 Result? 700t sold forward for milling next year, no discount.