Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fuel Plant to Guarantee National Grain Market

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fuel Plant to Guarantee National Grain Market

Article excerpt

Byline: By Anna Lognonne

Glencore Grain UK is to supply the 1.2 million tonne annual requirement of wheat to a huge new bioethanol production plant on Teesside.

The exciting new wheat market will transform the way farmers grow and market the crop and the capacity will have a highly positive influence on the security of UK wheat prices and growers' incomes for years to come.

This new bioethanol production plant at Wilton, announced by renewable energy specialist Ensus last week, will begin construction early next year and start production in 2008.

Growers need to be looking at their plantings for next autumn to supply more than 150,000 hectares of soft wheat to the plant, which will be by far the UK's biggest single intake for wheat.

Keith Davies, of Glencore Grain, said: "A plant of this magnitude will redefine the dynamics of the UK wheat market and have a positive effect on stabilising UK wheat prices.

"The UK typically produces a surplus of around 1.5 to 2 million tonnes of wheat. This one plant will substantially reduce the exportable surplus and, combined with other planned biofuel operations, puts the UK wheat supply and demand in balance.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for growers to secure a guaranteed market. Our long-term supply agreement with Ensus will create the potential for a decade of innovation for the farming industry."

The building of a bioethanol plant on Teesside and the market opportunities it provides farmers has also been welcomed by the National Farmers Union.

NFU combinable crops board chairman Arthur Hill said: "The long term contracts for wheat and the supply of animal feed resulting from this venture will benefit all farmers and provide access to a secure market for years to come.

"However, the emergence of this new market also shows we need to sit down with all of our customers to redefine the terms that farmers use for trading their crop and to guarantee supply to end users.

"In the case of bioethanol, this would mean rewarding wheat with the greatest spirit yield." The growth of a biofuel industry will also reinforce the NFU's campaign to abolish set-aside land, an aim Defra and the EU are backing. …

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