COVID-19: Contactless deliveries put NGR on front foot

Liz Wells April 17, 2020

Delivering grain at a Viterra site in December 2019. Photo: Viterra

THE NATIONAL Grower Register (NGR) is enhancing its value now that contactless deliveries have become mandatory at most sites because of COVID-19.

Launched in 2002 to simplify transfers of grain from grower to receiver, NGR aggregates details covering grower contact, payment and other details into a single database.

It is used by nearly all growers in South and eastern Australia and some in Western Australia, and a large proportion of traders and consumers nationally.

NGR business and product development manager Jay Holland said the use of NGR embedded functionality was an ideal way to provide delivery and load information while observing physical distancing measures required to minimise the spread of COVID-19.

“Everyone is grappling with what to do and how to do it from feedlots and mills through to storage sites.”

Mr Holland said that included the need for increased vigilance around online safety.

“We’re targeting an awareness of the need for tighter cyber security and reduced interaction at delivery during COVID-19.”

NGR’s database is built around a card number which can be sent electronically to the delivery site instead of the grower or delivering driver physically handing over the card for processing on arrival.

“Our system means growers can SMS or email information to the receival point.”

“You’ve got to roll your tarp back for sampling, but you may not need to get out of the truck apart from that.”

“NGR enables a truck to roll up to the site, get sampled, get weighed, tip off and go.”

Upon sale of the grain, the buyer sends the grower a Recipient Created Tax Invoice, and the income can be split for example between members of a partnership, or sharefarmer and landholder, as prescribed by the NGR number.

“We’ve got more than 150 bulk handlers, traders and consumers as data subscribers, and as the provider of a platform that offers increased social distancing at delivery, we’d like to have more.”

Subscribers increasing

Mr Holland said NGR’s number of data subscribers has lifted in recent years to reflect increased market options for growers because of deregulation.

“We have started to talk with a lot more feedlots, fodder and stockfeed organisations about becoming data subscribers, because of the increased regulation and distance required to ship suitable grain, in many cases they are getting it from interstate.”

“Their supply chain became more complex, and NGR has made that easier for them to manage.”

Adaptable product

NGR’s data subscribers also include seed breeders, holders of plant breeders’ rights (PBRs), crop insurers and many other industry participants.

All commodities are covered including grains, oilseeds, pulses and silage.

Growers can send their relevant NGR Card details through by logging into NGR, clicking on the relevant card, and sending the “share card” link to the delivery site via email or SMS.

“The NGR service also means a commodity vendor declaration with information about where the grain has been stored and what it’s been sprayed with can be sent electronically with the delivery.”

And for those lucky enough to be eligible for export to the significant European market, sustainable canola must come with International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC).

This can also be done through NGR.

Along with their NGR card number, growers can provide additional information to the delivery site such as truck registration, contract number, commodity being delivered and expected time slot for the delivery.

“That way when the truck arrives to deliver, site staff will know exactly what load is being received, who is buying it, and what card to put it against.”

Worthwhile for buyer

Robinson Grain trader Anthony Furse said the company was an NGR data subscriber because just about every grower it dealt with had a NGR card.

“If we buy grain through a broker or direct from a grower, we get their NGR number and put it into the purchase contract, and that gives us all the details we need.”

“As NGR data subscribers, we know up-to-date details are held in a central place, so if a growers’ banking or contract details have changed, that’s where the correct ones will be.

“It’s good for us because once a grower is set up with an NGR and linked to our account, we can search for that by name in the NGR database.”

He said NGR fitted ideally with how grain deliveries must now be conducted in the face of COVID-19.

“The industry very quickly has had to make things safer for drivers and for staff on site at places like feedlots where you have a specialised workforce and you need to keep operating.

“Organisations were very quick to protect employees on the properties.

“There’s been a lot of those issues figured out very quickly, and using NGR is part of that.”

Mr Furse said in his experience, only growers who sold small tonnages in intermittent years were without NGR numbers.

Drive for efficiency

Discussions which led to NGR started in 1996 when 16 organisations realised they were each maintaining their own databases containing details about growers who regularly delivered to two or more of them.

Developed by GrainCorp incorporating GrainCo and AusBulk prior to its shift into Viterra, NGR became a reality in September 2002, when the first NGR Card was used at a grain delivery site.

CBH is Western Australia’s biggest bulk handler by far, and does not accept NGR delivery cards.

It operates its own database at WA sites, but uses NGR for grain it buys in eastern states.

NGR is free for growers delivering grain anywhere in Australia, and is financed by one-off joining fees and annual listing and ISCC and CVD subscriptions fees paid by data subscribers.





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