Combine harvesting wheat© Juice/REX/Shutterstock

Milling wheats hit the highest quality levels for 13 years with 45% of samples from the 2016 harvest meeting millers’ needs.

The AHDB quality survey showed 45% of the samples taken of Group 1 milling wheats reached the minimum industry standards of 13% protein, 250 Hagberg and 76kg/hl specific weight.

Average specific weight for all wheats, at 76.7kg/hl, was the lowest for four years, although Group 1 wheats showed a slightly higher average of 77.4kg/hl.

See also: Harvest 2016: Wheat quality good as southern crop is nearly cut

The average protein at 12.4% was the highest since 2012, and 0.6% higher than the three-year average, while the average Hagberg at 307 is higher than last year and the three-year average.

James Webster, AHDB cereals and oilseeds analyst, said the proportion of Group 1 and Group 2 milling wheats meeting slightly lower quality standards, was 69% against 57% last year.

“We have already begun to see UK wheat displacing imported wheat in the milling sector.

“This year the proportion of imported wheat used by the UK milling industry from July to September is the lowest since 2011,” he said.

However, lower specific weights mean extraction rates are likely to be lower, which could also influence the amount of wheat required, added Mr Webster.

For the 2016 barley harvest, the AHDB survey shows nitrogen levels in line with the three-year average, but a smaller grain size than in each of the previous three years.