Grain is mounting on Scottish farms as growers struggle to find a home for it – or a haulier to move it.
Growers have reported a slowdown in uplift of grain for delivery to processors and a poor market for feed grain, with spot prices down 30% or more than last year.
Wet weather has caused grain quality issues, leading to more rejections, as well as higher drying costs.
NFU Scotland has written to partners in the supply chain, including the Maltsters’ Association of Great Britain and Road Haulage Association, asking what can be done to ease the mounting transport and storage problems.
“As a result of the weather, growers are experiencing rejections for grain grown for quality markets because of issues such as sprouting and germination,” said the union’s combinable crops chairman, Ian Sands, who farms at Balbeggie near Perth.
“The knock-on from that is a surplus of feed grain on farm, with limited storage and limited demand.”
He said Brexit uncertainty was putting the brakes on a lot of feed grain sales. “This is grain that would have been expected to find a ready demand for export,” added Mr Sands.
“But the threat of a no-deal Brexit and the potential for tariffs of over £80 per tonne on exports to the EU and 0% tariffs on imports, are significantly undermining market prospects.”
He said high demand for haulage and delays at processors mean fewer loads of grain can be shifted per day.
“Rejections at intake and grain being returned to farm exacerbates the pressure on haulage and hauliers,” added Mr Sands.
“Then there is the problem for many farmers that they do not have enough storage, especially for a harvest like this where weather delays have stripped out the harvest gaps between the different crops.
“Adding to this is the need to find a home for rejected crops without a feed buyer available.”
He called on the supply chain to work together to overcome transport and intake issues.
“Growers can help too by liaising with their merchants and buyers and scheduling haulage to minimise delays and maximise the limited availability to haulage that we have,” added Mr Sands.