FARMERS planning to sell grain stored on-farm to exporters need to know what specific requirements the port of delivery has according to Grain Producers Australia (GPA) chairman Andrew Weidemann.
There have been reports of trucks being turned away at port due to insufficient fumigation.
Mr Weidemann said it highlighted the need for farmers to communicate with the buyer of the grain.
“The Grain Trade Australia (GTA) standard is for grain with no infestations of weevils, not for treated grain necessarily, but the individual ports can have their own restrictions, so it is important farmers are proactive and find out what the requirements are before loading the truck.”
Angus Trigg, GrainCorp corporate affairs manager, confirmed GrainCorp required grain delivered to its ports after a certain date required fumigation or treatment.
“It is a requirement to protect the terminal. If the grain is not treated the risk of infestation and significant disruption to the export program is too high,” he said.
“We remind exporters of this each year and rely on them to communicate reminders directly to the growers they are accumulating from.”
Mr Weidemann said the issue was more widespread this year as more ex-farm grain is going for export.
“Production has been lower in areas with high rates of on-farm storage over the past two years so the delivery standard of grain heading to port ex-farm has not been a big thing.”
“This year a lot of buyers are sourcing on-farm grain to export, you look at Victoria and the estimates are that around half the total grain produced is being stored on farm so this is why we are seeing these issues.”
“It means farmers have to be organised, a treatment with phosphine needs to take place 21 days before it is delivered so you can’t just sell the grain and load it up the next day.”
There have also been issues in the past with ex-farm deliveries having excessively high phosphine readings.
Mr Weidemann said farmers needed to communicate with grain buyers about what was required in terms of treatments on the grain prior to sale.
“The critical thing is to be in touch with your marketer and know the delivery requirements to avoid any unwanted surprises.”
Gerard McMullen, chair of the national working party on grain protection, said farmers had to be aware of their overall compliance requirements when selling grain off farm.
“There are good marketing opportunities there, but farmers must make sure they comply with the chemical use requirements.
“Exporting grain adds an extra layer of complexity to the requirements, which also encompass maximum residue levels (MRLs).
“Some markets have a range of restrictions and farmers need to know what they are, along with the requirements of the export facility they are using.
“It means farmers should be in constant dialogue with the marketer they are planning on selling to about where the grain will be exported from and where it is going to.
“This is part of the ongoing evolution of the industry, as it gets more sophisticated, if you want to take advantage of specific markets you have to have a product suitable for them.”
Mr Weidemann said the cost of treating grain could range between 20 cents a tonne to $4/t depending on the product.
It is believed some export facilities have different policies to GrainCorp and require the use of phosphine only, ruling out other grain protectant products such as deltramethrin or methyl bromide.