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True value from grain deliveries with grain testing

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A 7,000-hectare Dan-Farm operation in Slovakia is reaping the benefits of on-farm grain analysis through more effective segregation of stored grain and guaranteed top prices between €5 and €15 extra per tonne.

The tractor wheels rolling across the fertile plains of Slovakia are getting bigger as the region joins a global trend towards larger, highly-efficient arable farms.


A case in point is the 7,000-hectare operation run by the Danish Dan-Farm organisation which specialises in investment and consultancy in farming in Eastern Europe. “We are not like a family farm,” says the managing director of Dan-Farm Slovakia, Josef Snegon. He describes how the company started up in Slovakia in 2005 with 1,000 hectares and grew from there.

A number of different farming units were added and the newest, biggest and best in machinery and equipment were acquired. This allowed just two to three people to work up to 1,000 hectares and the typical annual production rose to about about 30,000 tonnes of grain consisting of 20,000 tonnes of wheat and 10,000 tonnes of other crops such as rape seed, sunflower and corn. A central storage facility was set up and the loads flowed in from the fields. But as the silos filled up, one main challenge remained, namely, how to control the quality and segregate for the best possible price.

 

Segregation on the farm
The price is decided on arrival at customers such as flour millers in Hungary, Austria and Italy with buyers always looking for a particular quality, for example, wheat with a stable protein content of 12% for milling. 
 
“If they get one truck at 12.5% protein, the next at 13% and then 14% and so on, they will need to spend time and money on adjusting production,” says Snegon. “We tried to split our stocks into loads for feed, milling etc, but we struggled to do it. We tried to test the grain with a classical way using a test for gluten, but one sample takes 20 minutes. We could manage when we had just 1,000 hectares, but not now.”

 

 



“This is making money for our company - we can deliver a specific high quality and get better prices. They are willing to pay.”

- Dan-Farm


Grain field


Infratec information gives between €5 and €15 per tonne extra

Two Infratec grain analysers now provide the required information for efficient segregation and quality control. They measure all incoming and outgoing grain for parameters such as protein and moisture and another analytical instrument called the Alphatec provides convenient tests of the falling number parameter used to determine the baking properties of flour sourced from the grain.

The Dan-farm stock manager based at the central storage facility takes three samples of each incoming and outgoing load making a total of around three and a half thousand tests per year.

A print out of the tests is dispatched with deliveries as a solid ground for trade. “We never have any complaints from our partners,” says Snegon. “Protein and gluten are the main opportunities for getting a better price. This is making money for our company - we can deliver a specific high quality and get better prices. They are willing to pay.”

He gives a nice clear calculation of the financial gains. “Our experience shows that we can get between €5 and €15 extra per tonne because we can deliver the same good quality. If you take a conservative estimate of €5 per tonne times 20,000 that gives 100,000 a year - is that a good investment?

Infratec 1241

 

Infratec™ 1241 Grain Analyser


Reliability builds trust 

In addition to the obvious financial gains, the investment in a reliable analysis system helps to avoid unnecessary costs. For instance, it is an expensive undertaking to send a truck with a 1,000 ton load of grain over 1,000 km across the Alps to Southern Europe. If the shipment is sub-standard it will result in a reduced price or even a return.

Reliable and consistent analysis at both dispatch and delivery can avoid such costs and provides a lasting return on investment as Josef Snegon concludes.“Our customers are also testing the grain, but if they know we are using FOSS they are confident in the test results. One of the instruments has been working now for seven years without any trouble. We are very satisfied and have a good relationship with the local support from FOSS for the Infratec. With our six years’ experience we can recommend it.”

 

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