Agriculture Victoria is urging farmers and transporters to stop dumping grain on roadsides or face prosecution.
The department warns that not only is the dumping of grain illegal, but it is also a serious biosecurity risk.
Agriculture Victoria grains biosecurity officer Jim Moran said dumped grain provided an untreated, unmonitored, unmanaged and "very attractive" site for stored grain insects and disease pests to thrive.
He said these pests spread into neighbouring paddocks and farms, creating a significant biosecurity risk.
"Dumped grain can be a food source for birds and vermin such as mice and wild pigs which build in number and infest and damage nearby crops and grain storages," Mr Moran said.
"Vermin can also carry seed to other areas where it becomes a weed or vector for pests and diseases.
"As the grain germinates it provides an ideal green bridge for the early build-up of fungal diseases such as rusts, which cause substantial yield loss to grain growers."
Illegal grain dumps are often found along transport corridors to and from ports.
"They provide an ideal pathway for hitch hiker pests to make their way from an urban port to a farm, where they can become established in the grain production system," Mr Moran said.
He said transporters dump grain because they were concerned about having excess weight and compliance with the Heavy Vehicle National Law.
Grain is also dumped in smaller quantities at roadsides by drivers who have delivered to sea ports or other grain receival sites.
Mr Moran said this happened when drivers were unable to find facilities to sweep out trucks and trailers (a requirement under the Transport Code of Practice), before backloading with fertiliser or other commodities from a different facility.
Mr Moran said he urged people to undertake some simple actions and reduce the risks of grain being dumped on the roadside.
"To avoid overloading, a more accurate measure of weight is required," Mr Moran said.
"This could include installing a permanent or temporary on-farm weighbridge, gaining access to a nearby off-site weighbridge, using an on-board, over the axles or suspension-mounted vehicle scale, or simple visual methods proven to reduce overloading."
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) states; under COR (chain of responsibility), complying with transport law is a shared responsibility and all parties in the road transport supply chain are responsible for preventing breaches. That means anybody, not just the driver.
Ensuring trucks come clean and go clean is also vital, according to Mr Moran.
"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 so safely," Mr Moran said.
"It can be burned, buried or bagged and reused, perhaps as livestock feed if it is uncontaminated."
The grain's industry, through the 2021 Grain Trade Australia (GTA) Transport Code of Practice supports this practice through recommended biosecurity protocols.
Mr Moran said there should be no residual grain left in the trailer that needed to be dumped prior to picking up a new delivery.
"If a truck arrives empty but not clean, it's possible that residual grain has been dumped," he said.
"Growers should also have a designated clean-down area which can be monitored regularly for volunteer plants, weeds or pests."
"If you witness roadside grain dumping, you should report it to the Environment Protection Authority using their reporting App.
"It's considered littering under the Victorian Environment Protection Act (1970), so if you see someone dumping grain (or anything) from a truck and trailer, provide relevant details and it will be followed up."
If you suspect a chemical is dumped with the grain, let Agriculture Victoria's Chemical Standards Branch know (call 136 186), so that appropriate action can be taken under Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Control of Use) Act (1992).
"You may also want to inform the transport company and/or the farmer who they are carting for (if known)," Mr Moran said.
"After all, it's also dumping a farmer's hard-earned income on the ground."
For further information on grain biosecurity including free booklets and gate signs, please contact Mr Moran at email@example.com
More information on the Grain Trade Australia Code of Practice can be found at graintrade.org.au/grain-industry-codes
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