18 January 2002

Moisture checks worthwhile

KEEPING a close check on grain moisture has paid off for Suffolk grower Ronald Davison, helping him recover price penalties and redirection charges.

Mr Davison sent five loads of premium Malacca wheat for export from Ipswich last year, but not before taking a number of samples for moisture.

Despite all his samples coming in at less than 15%, he suffered three contract claims and one rejection.

"I was furious," says Mr Davison, who farms 1214ha (3000 acres) near Newmarket. "I was set to lose £15/t for the rejection, plus a redirection charge. I asked them to send me the samples and had them oven-tested."

In the end just one load was found to be over moisture, at 15.2%. Mr Davison was refunded the contract claims, but it took him a year and intervention from the NFU before the shippers refunded him his £350.

"I am glad I persisted," he says. "If more farmers stuck to their guns, shippers and merchants might be a little bit more careful."

The NFU advises farmers to always check their contracts and refer to the NFU/HGCA Cereal Sellers Checklist before delivering grain. &#42

"We are also very interested in individual cases, where there is clear doubt whether allowances are justifiable," says NFU chief arable adviser Paul Ibbott.

Persistence paid off for for Suffolk grower Ronald Davison, moisture retests securing a refund of wrongly levied grain price reductions.