Former army chief opens £1.95m new grain facility at Yaregrain

Yaregrain chairman Nick Hood (left) with Sadie Brinded and General the Lord Dannatt at the opening o

Yaregrain chairman Nick Hood (left) with Sadie Brinded and General the Lord Dannatt at the opening of the new building at Yaregrain. Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

A £1.95m upgrade to a state-of-the-art grain storage and processing facility was formally opened by the former head of the British army – one of the original investors in the scheme.

The new advanced processing unit (APU) at Yaregrain was opened by General the Lord Dannatt and dedicated to Ivor Brinded who worked at the Cantley site for more than 25 years before he died in 2015. Ivor's wife Sadie joined the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The facility, incorporating a high-capacity dryer, colour sorter and gravity separator, was partly funded by a £750,000 Defra grant, along with shareholder investment.

The site now offers 18,000 tonnes of storage space, giving farmers the ability to choose the right time to market their product, and add value to it through processing and drying. The site can accept up to 250 tonnes per hour, meaning a 29-tonne lorry can tip in less than 14mins.

Yaregrain chairman Nick Hood said: 'What we have got here is a facility that is really appropriate for the modern harvest and modern farming.

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'The infrastructure and the investment which has been done here is really setting us up for future growth, and we have the ambition to add another 7,000 tonnes in the next three years.

'Speaking as a farmer, it helps us manage the risk across all our combinable crops, and it has certainly been a cheaper alternative to on-farm storage.

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'But we are not just giving storage, we are adding value. In a difficult year, the members can upgrade marginal produce.

'And as modern harvesting is so quick now, we can take deliveries at 250 tonnes per hour, so you can keep farmers harvesting when they need to.'

Lord Dannatt said it was a 'great privilege' to open the new facility at the site where his family farm was one of the initial investors.

'I was a soldier for 40 years, so I cannot claim to be a farmer,' he said. 'But I do know that the investment in this facility will be very useful.

'We have got no storage at home and selling off the field does not make very good economics, so being able to store and dry stuff here makes a good deal of sense.'

Yaregrain's APU technology

• Colour Separator: Equipped with a high resolution camera which can identify and remove admixture, glass and ergot (a plant disease) from grain. It can also sort beans by colour, improving the value of the product.

• Rotary Screener: A rotating, cylindrical drum covered with interchangeable perforated screens allows the removal of small and large impurities. This is particularly useful for dressing barley to the standard required by maltsters.

• Gravity Separator: Sorts grain by density and can be used to improve the Hagberg rating for milling wheat, the germination in malting barley and the uniformity and density of grain – all of which improve the value of the product.

• Dryer: A continuous flow dryer can remove 1pc moisture per hour, per 100 tonne of grain, increasing the value by £6 to £20 a tonne. It is particularly helpful in achieving dried and dressed malting barley contracts which come with high premium prices.

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