With cereal and root harvests under way, crop handling equipment and storage can both be at a premium.
But ensuring produce – be it grains, oilseeds, root vegetables or delicates such as salads – is handled and stored correctly is critical to meeting customer specifications for quality, safeguarding prices and protecting farm profits.
And there are temporary solutions to keep harvest downtimes to a minimum.
Where grain storage is going to be an issue look for short-term solutions such as idle buildings within your local area.
It’s possible with so much change in agriculture there’s likely to be spare capacity awaiting to be used, perhaps where non-farming purchasers have taken on farms and/or agricultural buildings.
Remember, with so much grain going under assurance schemes it’s a prudent step to review rodent and vermin control at any prospective temporary site, suggest traders.
And also ensure access to buildings is sufficient to accommodate HGVs when loading as well as farm vehicles unless you are intending to cart grain to merchant stores yourself.
Depending on harvest conditions, damaged or cracked grain may be an issue.
This can impact on prices paid for cereals.
Where access to seed cleaners/dressers is not available consider using the services of a specialised processor to improve sample qulaity before marketing or long-term storage.
If bulk isn’t the issue, but safeguarding quality is paramount, then use of temporary refrigerated/chilled storage can be accommodated with several specialists offering equipment for hire and purchase (see Marketplace on www.fwi.co.uk for details).
Likewise, for temporary storage of small equipment, plant and sprays use of hired-in or bought ex-shipping containers – with prices starting from 200 – remains a popular route for freeing up storage space.
Because of their nature these often fall outside planning restrictions by the definition of being temporary structures, say suppliers.
The other main issue at harvest is handling.
For the root and vegetable sector limiting skin damage and bruising remains a key focus to protect farm finances.
Use of rubberised grading screens, exit elevator socks and trailer liners can all help cut losses and can be found in Marketplace’s Machinery section.
Likewise, movement of produce from pre-pack 1t storage boxes and trailer bodies can determine the level of damage incurred by produce.
Again, hydraulic box rotators fitted to front-end loaders and trailer exit gate socks can help minimise damage to produce, say suppliers.
Evidently, bringing the harvest home is one thing, finding somewhere to store it is quite another.