A new online grain trading and price comparison service is to be launched next week.
In two trial two-hour trading periods this week, almost 500t of grain was sold online through Graindex.
The new service is owned by West Sussex farmer Andrew Huxham and by Jamie McInnes. Mr McInnes launched a similar service, Sellmylivestock.co.uk, in June last year.
The system is designed to simplify and speed up grain market transactions for both buyers and sellers.
Sellers can upload details of crops for sale, including information about the specification, movement date and location.
Merchants can see details of all farmers and the commodities they are offering, and can bid for consignments on the site during twice- daily trading periods.
Sellers see only the highest price on offer at any time for their own grain and can access information about the details behind any offers, such as the buyer’s terms of trade.
At the end of each two-hour trading period, sellers have 20 minutes to accept any bids.
The service is free to buyers and costs £10/month for sellers, with no further fee or commission taken and no minimum sign-up period. Graindex does not take part in the trade.
“The real idea is to make selling grain easier,” said Mr Huxham, who farms near Chichester.
“It allows farmers to reach more buyers, respond more quickly and it saves hassle.
“All farmers recognise the need for efficiency and that’s not just about growing the crop, it’s needed in the selling and marketing too.”
Merchants signed up to the service so far include Glencore Grain, Robin Appel and Humber Grain, along with co-operative Openfield.
At the close of each trading period, buyers will be able to see which offers have been successful. If offers are declined, they will also be able to see why.
Alongside trading, the service also offers grain store management software which automatically calculates average prices and percentage of sales to help growers manage their grain marketing strategy.
The systems also works on smartphones and tablets.