By Robert Harris

BETTER prices for members are one of the benefits a southern co-op is claiming following a decision to ship its own grain.

SCATS has teamed up with shipper Soufflet to use part of the storage facilities at Southampton deep-water export terminal from 1 January, 1999. It is only the second co-op in the UK to become a shipper – the other is north-east based GrainCo.

This will enable SCATS to develop direct export markets for its pooled and ex-farm grain, says managing director Tim Pollock. Almost a third of the 500,000 tonnes a year handled by the co-op was exported last year.

The move shortens the chain between farmer and processor, easing traceability and boosting growers profit. “We are looking to strip out costs. There is no room for two profits. This should lead to an improvement in producer prices, perhaps from £1 to £5/t over a period of time,” he maintains.

Better farmer prices are expected following SCATS decision to ship grain Ship
“We anticipate building up a significant volume of trade in specialist malting barley, milling wheat and single variety cargoes directly with EU customers and we will be working closely with Soufflet to help meet the larger third country export orders,” says Mr Pollock.

Hampshire Grain, which supplies SCATS, welcomes the move. “Our members will benefit as added value, quality assured grain contracts are established directly with European grain processors,” says chairman Tom Brook.

  • GrainCo has announced a turnover of £40 million for the year ending June 1998, almost exactly the same as the previous year. This provided a “useful surplus” to add to company reserves, says managing director Gary Bright.

    The company, jointly owned by Farmway and Tynegrain, handled 385,000 tonnes of combinable crops last year, of which 190,000 tonnes was exported. Just under half the total – 180,000 tonnes – was marketed through the pool system.

    Mr Bright reckons committed grain will climb to 60% this year, reflecting the more uncertain trading environment.