Four grain storage sites which were on the market following the collapse of agricultural merchants, Alexander Inglis & Son are under offer to three separate buyers.
The prospective new owners of the 200,000 tonnes of strategically important storage and drying facilities remain a mystery, but land agents Savills have confirmed that the Errol and Swarland sites are under offer to two separate buyers while the Ormiston and Charlesfield facilities are under offer to one party.
With the clock ticking down to harvest, farmers are desperate to know if the facilities – including 25,300 tonnes in granaries at Errol – will be available for agricultural use this autumn or if they will be purchased for development and the storage capacity lost to the farming industry.
There is also no confirmation over whether farmers – some of whom lost six figure sums in the collapse of Inglis – will receive any payments from the administration, or even if grain that was in the stores has now been sold.
The joint administrators at FRP Advisory said: “We are continuing to progress with the administration process and will be publishing creditors proposals in a couple of weeks.”
NFU Scotland’s cereals committee chairman, Willie Thomson, said the lack of information about the future of the sites or the outcome of the administration process meant the industry was in limbo.
“We don’t know how much financial pain is still to come in the grain trade from the Inglis collapse for farmers, hauliers, seed merchants – all of these. There will be consequences still to come,” he said.
“As for farmers who had grain contracts with Inglis, I don’t think anyone is expecting they will stand for this coming harvest, but that has to be cleared with the administrators by individual farmers. They still have to go through that process before they sell grain to someone else.”
Meanwhile, with Inglis now out of the picture, and other malting barley buyers amalgamated, there is also concern over which buyers will fill the void.
Mr Thomson said many merchants are currently offering malting barley contracts for harvest movement this year.
However he added: “There is some real concern from smaller producers or those on mixed farms about temporary storage facilities as they need grain shifted before their cattle come in, and many don’t have their own drying facilities.
“They wonder if they’ll be looked after in new relationships with bigger companies after dealing exclusively with Inglis – some of them for 40 years.”
Tentative discussions about establishing grain producer co-operatives have been put on hold until there is more clarity.