NFU calls for justification of grain penalties

The NFU has called for merchants and other grain buyers to justify the level of deductions from this year’s crops. After a challenging harvest, farmers have been facing higher deductions than normal for specific weight.

NFU combinable crops chairman Andrew Watts has challenged merchants and processors to help farmers by being more transparent about the way in which claims are calculated.

“We do not expect a penny-by-penny list for each claim, but we have not seen anyone publicly explain or query why claims on quality seem to be at odds with HGCA’s work on specific weight and pig and poultry feed,” said Mr Watts.

NFU chief arable adviser Guy Gagen said that with such a huge variety of consumers of grain, it was important farmers understood where grain could go and how it was used to justify any deduction.

“We’re not looking for any trade secrets, just information on where the money is being spent. Farmers need to know what is going to be done to the wheat they sell and where the deductions are coming from,” he said.

Paul Rooke from merchant body AIC believed claims of transparency directed at merchants and millers were unjustified. This year’s harvest would add costs to every part of the grain chain, he said.

“In order to bridge the gap between the contract specification and the specification delivered costs will inevitably be incurred,” added Mr Rooke.

“For farmers and the trade this means working together, as closely as possible, to understand what quality exists and then to find the most appropriate destinations at home or abroad.

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