Farmers who have experienced machinery problems due to issues with red diesel are being encouraged to log their problems with NFU Scotland (NFUS).
The union’s transport specialist, Jamie Smart, has issued a call to all affected farmers and crofters to report any breakdowns or problems they have encountered with machinery via a joint online survey with the NFU in England and Wales.
“Fuel-related issues have been happening since before harvest but were far worse during the cold spell before Christmas,” said Mr Smart, writing in a blog post on the NFUS website.
“They resulted in tractors and machinery losing power, running poorly and requiring premature filter changes – causing inconvenience and cost to agriculture and allied industries.”
He said the union had been working hard to find a solution to the issue, which is believed to be linked to the biofuel content in red diesel.
“We continue to collect evidence from our members about their experiences, and conduct fuel and filter sample tests. Despite extensive analysis, no common pattern has been revealed,” he added.
“Unfortunately, our findings reinforce how complex the situation is and that there is no single problem or solution. All types of storage tank, vehicle and machinery may be impacted but sometimes one tractor on a farm can break down and another identical one can carry on unaffected.”
Mr Smart said NFUS was holding regular teleconferences and meetings with fuel processing giant, Petroineos, government officials, and the NFU.
“NFUS have secured a place on a task force set up by the British Standards Institution to look into why this has happened and how standards can be changed to prevent this happening in the future,” added Mr Smart.
“If members could fill out the survey for each vehicle impacted this will allow NFUS, NFU and the Department for Transport to gather evidence to establish the reasons for the issues. Without this evidence it will be difficult to get any changes made.”
The survey is online at bit.ly/2Pn891h