Report illegal grain dumping in Victoria

With most parts of Victoria having a successful crop harvest last year, there’s a lot more grain and cereal being moved around the state.

Agriculture Victoria grains industry biosecurity officer Jim Moran said with the increased movement, there is potential risk that some transporters are concerned about having excess weight and compliance with the Heavy Vehicle National Law which is considered a breach of their Chain of Responsibility (COR).

This may result in grain dumping in unauthorised areas.

“Agriculture Victoria is keen for everyone to be aware that grain dumping is an illegal activity which should be reported to the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) using their reporting App.

“Grain may be dumped in smaller quantities at roadsides by drivers, who have delivered to seaports or other grain receival sites and are unable to find suitable facilities to sweep out trucks and trailers, before backloading with fertiliser or other commodities from a different facility.”

“Alternatively Victorian residents can report sightings of grain dumping to me as the State Grains Biosecurity Officer – or the relevant state grains biosecurity officer if you’re outside Victoria.

“Reports will be further investigated, cleaned up and referred to the relevant agency depending on the circumstances.

“Illegal grain deposits are often found along the transport corridors to and from ports. Grain dumping provides an ideal pathway for hitchhiker pests – insects and diseases – to make their way from a busy seaport to a farm where they can then become established in the grain production system.

“Dumped grain can be a food source for birds and vermin such as mice and pest animals which build in number and damage nearby crops and grain storages.

“As the grain germinates it provides an ideal green-bridge for the early build-up of fungal diseases such as rusts which causes substantial yield loss.”

Why does it happen?

“Grain may be dumped in smaller quantities at roadsides by drivers, who have delivered to seaports or other grain receival sites and are unable to find suitable facilities to sweep out trucks and trailers, before backloading with fertiliser or other commodities from a different facility.”

Mr Moran is encouraging growers and industry to undertake action to reduce the incidence of grain being dumped on the roadside.

To comply with load limits, a more accurate measure of weight should be undertaken at loading.

This could include:

  • installing a permanent or temporary on-farm weighbridge
  • access to a nearby off-site weighbridge
  • using on-board, over the axles or suspension-mounted vehicle scales and other visual methods that are proven to reduce the incidence of overloading (and comply with COR).

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) states that: under COR, complying with transport law is a shared responsibility and all parties in the road transport supply chain are responsible for preventing breaches, that is, anybody – not just the driver.

“Ensuring trucks come clean and go clean is also vital.

“While this is an ongoing matter between the grains industry and receival sites if there is grain left over that needs to be disposed of, do it in a manner that does not pose a biosecurity risk,” Mr Moran said.

“It can be burned, buried or bagged and reused, perhaps as livestock feed if it is uncontaminated.”

Code of practice

The grains industry, through the 2021 Grain Trade Australia (GTA) Transport Code of Practice, supports this practice through recommended biosecurity protocols: “Prevent the spread of pests and diseases by implementing appropriate cleaning practices, including proper disposal of the residues following cleaning of transport equipment.”

“There should be no residual grain left in the trailer that then needs to be dumped prior to picking up a new delivery. If a truck turns up empty but not clean, it is possible residual grain has just been dumped,” Mr Moran said.

“Ask your grain freighters if they comply with the GTA Code of Practice,” he said.

“Growers should also have a designated clean-down area which can be monitored regularly for volunteer plants, weeds or pests.

“Biosecurity is maintained if everyone along the grain supply chain follows their Chain of Responsibility and implements good hygiene practices.”

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