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Why You Need On-Farm Grading to Sell Your Crop

· 3 min read
Oliver Windram

One of the keystone insights we have garnered working with farmers and buyers in the horticultural sector is that there is a buyer for every grade of produce. In this article I would like to outline why grading matters and how you as a grower can use it to maximise your revenue by selling more of what you grow.


We should start with packout rate. This is the best tool you have as a farmer to measure the positive impact good grading can have on your bottom-line. Packout rate is essentially the percentage of the total your harvest that you sell. Firstly good grading will help you maximise your packout over time. You will find, as do many successful emerging and large scale producers that good grading minimises rejection at market and maximises the likelihood of it being sold on in the shortest possible time frame. This in turn helps ensure you get the best possible price. Market agents and their buyers need product consistency and preferentially work with suppliers that can deliver this.

If you grade your first class well you will make more money selling it individually than if you were to just leave it mixed in with your second class produce. Good second class is vital to maximising your income as a farmer. The reality is, no farmer produces exclusively first class produce. If they claim to they are wasting a huge amount of what they grow. Second class often makes up 50-70% of harvested produce. Good second class needs to be well graded to maximise its shelf life. Remember, while it may seem prudent to sell as much of what you harvest as possible adding in spoiled or damaged reject class project with your second class dramatically increases the spread of pathogens that lead to post harvest spoilage. Careful grading of your second class will help maximise its shelf-life. If you as a supplier demonstrate this care and understanding of the quality of your produce once it moves into the fresh produce supply chain you will be rewarded by buyer loyalty. Buyers will preferentially seek out your produce because of the value it brings to their own businesses.

Establishing on-farm grading may seem daunting. You have probably seen the large pack-house facilities that large scale producers employ to achieve high grading standards and think this beyond the means of a small-scale or emerging farmer. In the past this may have been true but today that grading expertise and capability fits into your pocket. Just point your smartphone camera at your packed produce and Kuronga will provide you with expert on-farm grading capability through our simple and affordable subscription based service.

Click to sign up for a free trial of the the Kuronga Grading Service