By Eammon Conaghan
Fresh moves are being made to make Quality Assurance (QA) systems more
appealing to graingrowers.
For years, agricultural producers, particularly in livestock and horticulture,
have been urged to ‘adopt’ QA systems – some of which
did little to endear the practice to farmers.
QA training and the cost of audits in return for sometimes intangible
benefits have not made compelling business sense for many producers, according
to CBH On-farm QA Co-ordinator, Mr Dave Jeffries. Mr Jeffries is heading
CBH’s push to develop the BetterFarm IQ (Integrated Quality) program
“CBH is trying to make the QA equation add up for growers by offering
genuine rewards for delivering a product with a known history and traceability,”
“QA growers represent a lower risk to the integrity of grain in
the supply chain, which translates into reduced costs for the CBH group
and we aim to share that with QA growers by lowering storage and handling
charges for them.”
Interested growers can integrate their on-farm QA into CBH’s SQF
2000 program. Under the program, CBH will appraise grower QA systems for
less than the annual external audit costs associated with SQF 2000 accreditation.
With CBH acting as a ‘QA mediator’, growers will face less
formal SQF audits.
While reducing the costs of maintaining a QA program is handy, it is
however only one half of the equation.
“By integrating growers’ quality systems with ours, we have
the confidence to trial programs which will deliver grower benefits,”
Mr Jeffries explains.
“For example, we are examining the feasibility of handing grain
testing to QA growers so they can declare their own grain quality and
by-pass receival point testing when making deliveries. Random checks would
be used to qualify grower declarations.”
This would save growers valuable time during harvest while ensuring that
CBH knows the production history of the grain received, rather than knowing
only the readings produced by a narrow sample taken at delivery, as is
now the case.
According to Mr Jeffries, the BetterFarm IQ system aims to bring growers
closer to their customers and CBH closer to their suppliers in a partnership.
That partnership will be underpinned by a training course for QA growers
aimed at reinforcing the importance of meeting quality and safety standards.
Equipped with that understanding, CBH believes growers will honour their
obligations to SQF.
“Growers need to understand our side of the business too. For example,
they should know that even one pickled grain in a shipment of malting
barley could result in a rejection of the grain and upwards of $10 million
in associated costs,” Mr Jeffries says.
“Our training program will help build that mutual understanding
while tailoring a specific QA manual for their farm.”
According to Hyden grower and GRDC Western Panel chairman Mr Dale Baker,
tangible grower benefits for QA accreditation are important to help encourage
“In some other agricultural sectors, QA has been dangled as a prerequisite
offering little advantage beyond continued access to markets that producers
have sold to for years,” he says.
“The first graingrowers to adopt QA schemes are the ones most likely
to capitalise on any advantages while consolidating market share and I
therefore commend CBH on a quality initiative which shapes as a winwin
for them and growers.”
For more information:
Dave Jeffries, CBH, 08 9454 0358, firstname.lastname@example.org