THIS year’s wheat-specific weights are the worst on record, according to the final results of the AHDB/ HGCA Cereals Quality Survey.
The survey used 99,546 wheat and 36,262 barley samples. The HGCA said the higher number of samples could be due to more growers deciding to test individual loads because of the poorer quality.
AHDB/HGCA senior analyst Charlotte Garbutt said: “Poor wheat quality creates challenges across all supply chains from growers to traders and on to domestic and overseas flour millers and feed compounders.
“In a typical year around 85% of the wheat that millers use is grown in the UK but this proportion is expected to be lower in 2012 as only 2% of nabim group 1 samples in our survey met a high-quality bread milling specification, compared with 40% in 2011.
“A poor harvest and bad autumn understandably does nothing for industry confidence; but it is important not to base marketing decisions on recent memories and remember that every season has its own price drivers to monitor.”
The report found that the average GB specific weight for wheat is now 69.6kg/hl (kilograms per hectolitre), the lowest on record.
The figure was down on last year’s 78.7kg/hl and is mainly due to this year’s bad weather, the report said.
In other indicators for wheat, the average GB Hagberg Falling Number (HFN) was 237 seconds, down on last year’s 269 seconds and the three-year average of 267 seconds. This is the lowest average since 2008.
And the average GB protein content was 12.5%, up on last year and the highest since 2006.
The report said: “Yields were lower this year and it is worth considering that there tends to be an inverse relationship between yields and protein content.”
For barley, the average GB specific weight was 62.9kg/hl, lower than last year’s 66.4kg/hl and the lowest on record dating back to 1977.
Average GB nitrogen content was recorded at 1.60%, better than last year’s 1.71% and the three-year average of 1.65%.
Screening results for barley were generally poorer this year with an average of 3.6% passing through a 2.25mm sieve, an increase on last year’s 1.4% and the three-year average of 1.6%. And 89.8% of samples were retained by a 2.5mm sieve which is lower than last year’s 95.8% (95% three year average)