Huge increase in storage for region’s grain crops

One of the country's largest combinable crop stores is being built near Cambridge to serve farmers across East Anglia.

One of the country's largest combinable crop stores is being built near Cambridge to serve farmers across East Anglia.

Camgrain is adding an extra 90,000 tonnes of storage at Great Wilbraham, bringing its total capacity to 240,000 tonnes.

The farmer-owned group, based at Linton, near Cambridge, currently stores wheat, barley, oats and rapeseed for 300 farmer members.

Camgrain's new store, which is being built six miles from the existing store at Linton, will be ready to take grain from this year's harvest.


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Twelve silos, two flat stores and a rapid grain intake facility are under construction on the 23-acre site, next to the A11.

The decision to increase storage was in response to demand from arable growers in the region.

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"We don't build on speculation, but on commitment," said Camgrain chairman and farmer John Latham.

"Camgrain offers an alternative to storing crops on-farm. Our economies of scale mean we can build storage and store crops more economically than on-farm," he said.

Mr Latham stressed that central storage was a key route to the market, and one to which the food industry was increasingly turning to minimise inefficiencies and guarantee traceability and food security.

Camgrain has been able to access grant aid that would not be available at individual farm level.

"This has allowed us to build a sophisticated infrastructure that is important to our customers, who need to know that we have an efficient operation," said Mr Latham.

Adrian Dyter, commercial director of Greencore, Europe's third largest maltster, said supply continuity and efficient logistics were the two most critical factors in producing 4,300 tonnes of malt a week at Bury St Edmunds.

"The investment made by Camgrain allows a high speed of delivery into our maltings. It also provides valuable service by supplying us through May, June and July when delivery from farms can be difficult," he said.

Mr Dyter said that Camgrain's scale and sophistication of supply provided Greencore with the opportunity to undertake supply chain initiatives with its brewing customers, one of which is the third-largest brewer in Japan, Sapporo.

"Our collaborative contract farming system means that all materials are traceable back to the field. Sapporo uses this as a differentiating factor in marketing its beer."

An important element of Camgrain's success is good marketing services for its members, said Mr Latham. Through partnerships with Grainfarmers (for wheat, oilseeds and pulses) and Gowlett Grain (malting barley and oats), the business has first-rate marketing expertise, he said.

"Members can choose if they want their crops marketed through pools, and 85pc to 90pc is marketed in this way," he said.

A survey by the English Food and Farming Partnership has found that 30pc of farm storage is more than 30 years old.

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