Bread, biscuits and doughnuts being made from CPB Twford’s new white wheat variety, Zircon, at Cereals 2007, highlighted the potential market opportunities for UK-grown white wheat flour.

Currently around 50,000t of white wheat flour was used for some specialist breakfast cereals and breads, the firm’s Andrew Newby said. “Most of it is imported from France, Australia and Canada.”

But the introduction of Zircon – on the 2007 HGCA Recommended List for specialist use – gave UK growers an opportunity to supply a home-grown white wheat, which has a paler seed coat than traditional red wheats.

The variety, which could be planted either late autumn or in the spring, should be available next season on contracts with grain merchant Centaur, Mr Newby said.

“We’re not grain traders so we wanted to work with someone who understood the grain industry. Centaur have a proven record offering contracts such as the Hereward one with Warburton’s.”

Around 3,500t of Zircon white wheat was being grown this season on contract with CPB Twyford for millers to do further tests with, Mr Newby said. “We’re paying a premium over Group 1 milling wheat for the extra management the crop needs.”

The main management issue growers would face was at harvest. Slightly more prone to sprouting than traditional red wheats it needed priority harvesting, he said. “But its no more difficult to manage than Hereward, for example.”

Cereals 2007 news and pictures