Extra grain store capacity to help in challenging harvest

Fengrain has expanded the capacity of its central Wimblington store by around 12,000 tonnes in time for this year’s expected bumper harvest.

The three new 3750t grain bins take the site’s total capacity to almost 100,000t and should help improve efficiency during what is likely to be a challenging year for grain haulage and storage logistics, chief executive, Mark Isaacson said.

“I don’t think the industry is in a position to shift everyone’s grain exactly when they want to, and given that modern combine outputs – which can easily reach 200t/day – will be ahead of what some people can handle on-farm, there will be a logistical challenge this year.”

Communication with hauliers and those taking grain was vital for all growers, and it was particularly important to keep everyone informed when combines were running, as well as when they were not, he said. “However well you plan, there will be some growers that will have to be patient and use any available storage to keep combines moving.”

Temporary storage

As an example, he suggested that Fengrain customers with spare shed space or flat concrete pads could tip feed wheat on-floor to keep the combine moving. Grain would then be collected within 24 hours, he said. “If the weather’s good, a concrete pad is fine, but if not, use any space in buildings.”

But where temporary storage was used, Assured Combinable Crop standards must be taken note of, he added. ACCS standards include provision for temporary storage, but buildings must be cleaned and weatherproof, plus any other holding area must not put grain at risk from deteriorating quality, or present a food safety risk, a representative said.

Norfolk farmer and contractor John Means will have about 3,000t of wheat to move this harvest, and with no permanent on-farm storage, all of it will have to be moved to Fengrain’s central store straight away.

“Last year we had one lorry earmarked for us to keep crop moving throughout harvest. This year I reckon we’ll need two, but I don’t know how it’ll work out. Once the sheds are full, I hope we don’t have to tip on the floor, but we’ll see.”

Mr Means, also grows 280 acres of potatoes and is more concerned about the availability of potato haulage this year. “Most crops go to the major retailers and I don’t think packers and wholesalers have the same scope for negotiating fuel escalators to take up higher costs. One local potato haulier has already gone out of business.”