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Case Study - M. Gibbons and Son, Malting Barley Growers
Beers made with UK Malt  Asured UK Malt


UK Barley Growers Provide Assurance for Maltsters 

Like many malting barley growers in the UK , M.Gibbons and Sons is a family business. Julian Gibbons is one of two brothers involved in the business, and they represent the second generation that has farmed the land around Bradley, Hampshire in Southern England . In fact, September 2006 marked the 40 th anniversary of Julian's father moving to the farm. Today they have 800 hectares (around 2000 acres) under their management. Malting barley takes up around 25 per cent, with wheat being their largest crop (about 50 per cent). They also grow oilseed rape and oats, and participate in environmental schemes, such as the UK government's Entry Level Stewardship scheme.

Julian Gibbons, malting barley grower
Harvesting barley for Assured UK Malt

All the grain produced by the farm, including the malting barley, is either stored on farm, or sent to a local central store. From there it will either go to maltsters who are part of the Assured UK Malt (AUKM) scheme, or for export. As a grower supplying AUKM Julian is aware of the need to deliver barley to the high standards laid down by scheme. The simplest way to do this is by participating in one of the UK farm assurance schemes, in this case the Assured Combinable Crops Scheme (ACCS).

Julian says that participation is an absolute necessity for farmers in the 21 st century. “Participation in one of the assurance schemes is vital in today's markets. It provides a degree of supplier assurance that is required by all the markets we serve including the flour millers and maltsters,” he says, ”However, I think the maltsters have taken the lead in integrating farm assurance with their own malting assurance scheme.”

There is no part of the growing process which is not touched by farm assurance. Farmers must be able to show that they follow the highest standards including statutory obligations from the planting of seed to the moment the barley leaves the farm. The standards laid down by ACCS cover:

  • Seed – the grower must either provide details of certification for bought seed, or records of farm-saved seed including the qualifications for the person who has treated the seed.
  • Applications of pesticides and fertiliser - use of crop sprays are subject to detailed regulations including licensing of those who operate the machinery, and regular checks on the machinery itself. Both fertilisers and pesticides are also subject to regulations with regard to their storage.
  • Grain harvesting – checks must be carried out on the combine harvester used to harvest the grain.
  • Storage – detailed provision is made concerning the storage of the grain if it is stored on the farm for any length of time. This includes the buildings, rodent and insect control, and moisture control.
  • Transportation – whether provided by the farmer or by a third party, vehicles used to move barley have to undergo detailed checks.

Julian Gibbons, barley grower

Julian checking paperwork

All of this is subject to annual audit, with the farmer having to prove that all the necessary licenses and training are in place, as well as the auditor conducting a visual inspection of the farm and its buildings. Registration requirements apply not just to farmers such as Julian, but also to any advisers that they use.

“We keep detailed computerised records at every stage of the process, as well as retaining samples of all the batches that leave the farm. When malting barley goes from here it takes a ‘passport' with it that shows all the details and includes a stamp to show which farm it comes from and that it is ACCS certified. Everyone in the chain including maltsters, brewers and distillers, and retailers can be confident that it has been produced to the highest standards,” says Julian

“By developing the AUKM scheme maltsters have added value to the supply chain at the farm and primary processing stage, putting together a level of assurance throughout the chain which is unequalled anywhere in the world.”


Tony Pexton is Chairman of the Assured Combined Crops Scheme, he sa ys: "In a world increasingly concerned with not only food safety, but also environmental and animal welfare issues, our customers need confidence in our on-farm production and storage standards. Red Tractor schemes, with their across industry setting of standards, and independent inspection, gives them the assurance that they seek, and provides the first step for processors to set up integrated assurance schemes right through the chain to the final product.

“The Assured UK Malt scheme is an excellent example of integration between on-farm schemes and processing. It adds value for the grower, and gives buyers, retailers and consumers total confident in the ingredients they are using and consuming.”

Colin West, Executive Director of the Maltsters Association of Great Britain says: “One of the strengths of the Assured UK Malt scheme is the level of grower assurance which exists in the UK with some 25,000 farmers in assurance scheme. All of our suppliers of malting barley are in one of these schemes, and this gives us a degree of confidence which cannot be equaled anywhere in world. When this is combined with the AUKM scheme, brewers and distillers can know that we offer total brand protection for their products.”

Further information on the Assured Combinable Crops Scheme can be found at www.assuredcrops.co.uk. The Assured UK Malt scheme covers not only the standard of barley delivered by the farmer or grain merchant, but also every aspect of production through to delivery to the end user. More information on the scheme is included on the AUKM website at www.assuredukmalt.com , which also features case studies on how the scheme is audited and how brewers such as Carlsberg, Shepherd Neame and Adnams benefit from using Assured UK Malt.

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