The results of an 18-month pilot project to move the current paper grain passport system online are to go to consultation to confirm whether it should be rolled out across the industry.
Participants of the eGrain Passport pilot, funded by AHDB Cereals and Oilseeds, included a cross-section of growers, hauliers and end users working across milling wheat and malting barley supply chains.
Initial feedback indicates the scheme has possibilities to enhance farm and haulier assurance and should speed up the passport process.
The eGrain Passport system features include automated real-time assurance checks and two-way data flow. This allows passport data to be sent to processors in advance of delivery, and load weight and grain quality data to be fed back to merchants, hauliers and farmers, following delivery.
The pilot study estimates by cutting out the costs associated with the current paper passport, a return of £3 for every £1 spent on implementing the system could be achieved over a 10-year period.
Flick Bloomfield, a grain administrator from Muntons who has been involved in the pilot, says: “As a user of the system, I think it will be great to get on board with this if it is to be approved, as traceability is simpler and an improvement compared with the paper trail we currently use.”
Another of the participants, Openfield, recognises although the current paper system is not ‘broken’, a new electronic system could help meet existing shortcomings and enable the industry to respond to changing future demands.
Roz Reynolds, AHDB Cereals and Oilseeds, says: “It will be a collective industry decision, whether to adopt an electronic passport system or not, based on the findings from the pilot. However, the pilot did show potential benefits for the industry as a whole.”