This harvest’s wheat specific weights and Hagberg falling numbers are likely to be below last year, according to predictions by Harper Adams.

The forecasts, based on the North Atlantic Oscillation climatic phenomenon, suggest the GB average specific weight will be 75.9kg/hl (76.4kg/hl in 2006) and the average Hagberg to be 224 seconds (294 seconds last year).

If they are correct, there could be a shortage of good quality wheat, says project leader, Peter Kettlewell. “This will create pressure for an increased premium.” The forecasting is likely to be correct two years out of three.

“The University College has studied the factors affecting breadmaking premium over many years and we have found that Hagberg falling number has the largest effect on the premium.”

A drop of 10 seconds in the national average Hagberg at harvest leads to a rise in the national average premium, over one year, of 1.5% of the feed price, he said.

More details about the Harper Adams forecast can be found here.