31 October 1997

SCATSassurance…

FARMERS across the south of England are heading for a flying start in the Assured Combinable Crops Scheme.

Almost 500 members of five grain groups associated with Hants-based co-op SCATS have been registered by the company for the scheme.

"It is vital growers are approved as quickly as possible," says arable and grain director Colin Miller. "I cannot understand the vocal minority in some areas who are opposing the scheme.

"There is nothing in the protocols which amounts to more than good farming or good business practice. How can people bury their heads in the sand when they can see what happened with BSE, and the millions that cost?"

SCATS enthusiasts represent about a quarter of all growers who have registered interest in the ACCS nationally, says the companys grain development manager Rob Sanderson. The aim is to ensure all members supplying the 200,000t of grain handled by the three central stores – Hampshire Grain, Weald Granary, and Wiltshire Grain – are registered as assured growers by next harvest.

Other growers belonging to on-farm storage groups Segrain and Southern Counties Grain, which account for a further 100,000t of grain, will be signed up by the following year, Mr Sanderson predicts.

Several meetings are planned to explain the scheme, and its likely impact, to growers, he adds. Although grain storage is usually farmers main concern, those using central stores have little to fear, he maintains.

"They only need to store grain for a maximum of 48 hours at harvest. Provided transit stores have been cleaned and are fit for the purpose, there shouldnt be a problem."

On-farm group members are partially prepared, he adds. "It has been a condition of membership since 1992 that grain storage had to be of a standard acceptable to the board.

However, about 25% of members will need to make some improvements. "We will be offering advice to those that want it, including farmers who are not members, to help them meet the ACC Scheme requirements."

Growers, and SCATS, will benefit from the scheme, explains Mr Miller. "There will clearly be a competitive advantage for both marketing group members and individual farmers who produce and supply quality assured grain.

"We shall be able to continue to supply the right products in the required volumes at the right time. Dont forget, customers are already including quality assurance demands in their purchasing agreements."

ASSURANCE PUSH

&#8226 About 500 members registered.

&#8226 200,000t from three central stores assured by 1998.

&#8226 Another 100,000t from two farm-stored groups in 1999.

&#8226 Explanatory meetings planned in Nov/Dec. Free on-farm advice to follow.

A big push is under way to get 500 growers registered as assured grain producers, says SCATS Rob Sanderson. Explanatory meetings and on-farm advice will smooth the way for members and non-members alike.

ASSURANCE PUSH

&#8226 About 500 members registered.

&#8226 200,000t from three central stores assured by 1998.

&#8226 Another 100,000t from two farm-stored groups in 1999.

&#8226 Explanatory meetings planned in Nov/Dec. Free on-farm advice to follow.

Answers here…

Quality assurance and grain storage are key topics for discussion in the Talking Grain seminars at Grain 97 on Nov 25/26 at the NAC, Stoneleigh, Warks.

With more than 80 companies exhibiting equipment and services the RASE/FARMERS WEEKLY event promises to answer all your grain storage and handling questions. Running alongside Grain 97 is the Farm-IT event, where visitors will find all the latest developments in on-farm information technology.

Admission, parking and catalogue for both events are free. Opening times 9am-4pm. More information from the RASE (01203-696969).