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Receiving And Processing Incoming Stock

Completion requirements

When agricultural inputs are delivered to a farm store, there are several tasks that should be completed. As the delivery arrives, all cartons (boxes), bags, pallets and other items should be placed on the floor and checked. All boxes should be checked off against the invoice following to policy, procedures and guidelines of the specific site, industry or farm.

In most cases the policy is likely to include:

  • Count the boxes to check if the correct number has been delivered.
  • Separate unopened boxes i.e. those that are sealed and labelled containing only one type and kind of input (e.g. a box containing 25, one litre bottles of Roundup herbicide), from opened, mixed boxes (i.e. those containing different items in one box.
  • Sealed boxes can be counted unopened. Mixed cartons should be opened and the contents checked. If time allows check the contents of whole boxes as well.
  • Open damp or damaged boxes and check the contents for damages and breakages. If cartons have been tampered with, their contents should also be checked. Any damaged or tempered with contents must be returned to the supplier following the site procedures.
  • Check the goods for quality and expiry dates. If expiry dates have been exceeded return the goods to the supplier, following the site procedures.
  • Any discrepancies should be recorded on the invoice following site procedures.
  • It is a good policy to check the invoice against the order at first and then check the contents.

All these checks should be done before the delivery note or invoice is signed off. When checking a delivery in upon boxes, employees should not allow themselves to be rushed or hurried by the delivery driver.

All deliveries must be checked thoroughly. The only way to ensure that the correct quantity and undamaged goods are received is to check every box and container within the box or pallet. The following points should guide towards ensuring deliveries are properly checked:

  • When receiving multiple deliveries at the same time, each delivery must be checked separately and in an orderly manner.
  • All stock should be accurately recorded and checked against all original order documents.
  • All shortages, excess, missing and damaged goods should be noted on the delivery note as well as original order documents, following site procedures.
  • All differences must be reported to the supervisors or store manager according to site procedures.

Storage and Segregation

The various different inputs should be separated within a store. Depending on the actual commodity being stored, the systems used in different stores may differ. In the case of pesticides, it is useful to separate the herbicides, fungicide and insecticides by placing them in different designated areas within the store. This will help to ensure that an herbicide is not accidentally issued instead of an insecticide. When stacking pesticides, the powered and granular formulation should always be stored away from the liquid formulations. Store the dry formulations on an upper shelf and liquids below. This ensures that should a liquid container leak, it will not contaminate the dry products. When stacking containers, there are a number of rules to be followed. As a general rule, systems of storage should be flexible and adaptable.

Click here to download a handout that explains the rules for stacking containers.

Stacking Positions and Heights

Stock should be arranged to use the oldest first ("first in - first out" principle) and to prevent obsolete stock from accumulating. Containers should be arranged to minimise handling and thus avoid mechanical damage giving rise to leaks. Floor spaces should be neat, with marked gullies (1-m wide) between shelves or stacks that permit easy inspection and allow free airflow. This also enables immediate clean-up in the event of any leakage or spills which can be easily seen. When using shelves for smaller packs, always place dry formulations on the upper shelves, and the liquids below. This will ensure that leaking liquids will not contaminate the powders. Climbing on pesticide containers to reach other containers should not be permitted as damaged or corroded metal drums can easily give way under a person’s weight. Containers should not be placed directly on the floor but rather onto dunnage (construction of bricks and timber allowing for a gap between the timber and floor). This will allow the identification of leaking or corroding containers. Dry formulations should be kept in boxes to avoid clotting. Where the chemicals are packed in glass, these should also be kept in boxes to prevent breakages. When inputs are packed on pallets, the total pallet height should not exceed 107 cm.

Pesticide Ordering and Shelf-life

The shelf-life and rate of use must be taken into account when ordering inputs. Do not order more than one year's requirement. The date of manufacture and shelf-life should be visible on the outside of the container. If a larger quantity is ordered than can be used during the period of shelf-life, outdated stocks will accumulate and present disposal problems.

Stock Inspection and Shelf-life

Stocks in a store should be inspected regularly for signs of deterioration, such as clotting of powders, sedimentation of liquids and discoloration through oxidation. Shelf-life declines rapidly after containers have been opened and left partially empty. Stock turnover must be organised to ensure that the contents of a container are used as quickly as possible once the container has been opened. Unsealed containers of dusts and wettable powders should not be kept for more than one year.

Containers are not only subject to deterioration caused by external factors (climatic, biological and mechanical), but can also be corroded internally through the action of the pesticides they contain. Emulsifying concentrate formulations are particularly likely to affect weak spots, especially along seams or where there are imperfections on the internal coating of the container. Some pesticides increase in acidity during storage and this makes them more likely to corrode containers from within. Discoloration of pesticides is a sign of corrosion and should be looked for during stock inspections.