With rising energy costs making up a large percentage of expenditure for farm producers across the UK, the need to operate at optimal levels of efficiency is essential in order to make savings and remain competitive.
Yorkshire farmers, in particular poultry producers, using biomass wood pellets as an alternative, renewable energy and heating source are now being asked by national supplier, Y Pellets, to question and fully examine what they pay for after identifying discrepancies in practices widely used by other contractors. This includes suppliers subcontracting deliveries to other distribution companies or making deliveries on vehicles which don’t meet EN Plus trading standards which are therefore not legal for trade.
This could mean that poultry farmers may be receiving up to 10% less product on delivery compared to the quantity ordered if only specifying the quality of the pellets and not the standard of vehicles making the deliveries. This is especially true for part-load deliveries whereby a customer’s order is one of several making up the total pellet load. Whilst the full vehicle may have been weighed and verified for distribution prior to delivery, the customer cannot be sure that the smaller percentage they receive once unloaded onsite is 100% accurate and to the exact order amount.
Managing Director, Neil Holland explained, “Our delivery lorries are 100% our own, not subcontracted, and this, along with our advanced on-board technology and state-of-the-art electronic weighing systems, makes a substantial difference to the quality of the pellets being delivered as well as the reliability of service received. Companies that subcontract have much less control and some farmers have been unable to receive deliveries during busy periods because of this. With no heating, they’ve had little choice but to switch to expensive back-up systems such as LPG to provide constant heating for their birds.
“Additionally, farmers could be seeing discrepancies in the amount ordered compared to the amount being delivered and this could be anything from 2-10%. You wouldn’t go to a supermarket, pay for ten apples but only come away with nine, and it’s no different here. Our systems can eliminate any such shortfall and therefore have a direct impact on a poultry producer’s bottom line finances, especially in a supply chain where one or two per cent can make a difference.”
Yorkshire-based Y Pellets has recently made significant investment in new, specially-equipped six and eight wheel delivery trucks and has highlighted that for EN Plus A1 standard pellets, the actual delivery service must be EN Plus certified too for the product to be regarded as such.
Whilst the company has invested in the correct machinery and vehicles, other suppliers that subcontract deliveries as a means of cutting costs could also be affecting the quality of the pellets. Neil added, “Our vehicles have been adapted to provide a highly controlled, fit-for-purpose environment for wood pellets and in order to provide the very best quality, we screen not only for fines but oversize pellets too. This is over and above standard EN Plus guidelines and goes the extra mile to protect our clients’ boiler and auger systems from possible pellet damage.
“A lower standard of biomass pellet will always produce lower energy outputs and as farmers require the most efficient energy performance from their systems, especially during the birds growth, the cost of kW produced is a key operational factor.”
Y Pellets has recently announced plans for a new, multi-million pound wood refinery, the first of its kind in the UK and only the second of its kind to be built in the world due to advanced patented processes. Wood for the plant will be sourced locally and the pellets produced then sold across the UK. The development, to be built and operated by ARC Applied Sciences which has already constructed and operates an advanced European wood fibre processing and pellet manufacturing plant in Austria, will revolutionise supply to the market and provide a boost to the region’s economy and wider Northern Powerhouse growth strategy.