16 March 2001

Order early to avoid F&M squeeze

PRECAUTIONS against foot-and-mouth are set to stretch delivery services to farm, so growers are being advised to order inputs as early as possible.

"Try to bulk up orders and over- rather than underestimate amounts needed," says Procam technical director David Ellerton. "If we get a dry spell that is when it is really going to hit." Spraying of delivery vehicles and unloading off farm is slowing turn-around times.

So far grain collections have been little affected, but that is starting to change as the number of outbreaks and associated exclusion zones escalates, says Glencores Robert Kerr.

Growers in exclusion zones can claim force majeure on contracts, and be rolled forward month on month until restrictions are lifted, he says. However, the merchant will still have to deliver to the mill in the original contract month, forcing him to look for grain elsewhere.

"As a result the spot market may get squeezed. But the forward market has already gone flat and we may even see it inverted." &#42