Early wheat quality is extremely variable, but mycotoxin levels are not as high as expected, according to John Smith, director of Weald Granary in Kent.

“We’ve had about 400t of wheat into store, and the proteins are all over the place,” he said.

“Where the wheat has died off early the protein is very high, at 14%. Hagbergs are good, at 380-390, but bushelweights are low at 66-74kg/hl, and the grain does look small and pinched.”

A typical load of Gallant from a good local farmer had tested at 13.6% protein, 390 Hagberg and 74kg/hl. “Solstice and Cordiale may hold up better on bushelweight, but I think yields will be down.”

However, mycotoxin levels were low so far, in contrast to common expectations, he added. “The highest DON we’ve found is 400 – and the maximum allowed is 1250, so it’s not a concern at this stage.”

Screenings were also high, with about 5% passing through a 2mm sieve compared to 1% in a normal year.

“I suspect that if end users want British wheat they will have to lower their intake specifications.

“We can screen out the small grains, and are segregating all the milling wheat – normally we’ll take it down to 70kg/hl, but this year I think we will split it into 70-74kg/hl and then 74kg/hl and above.

“That way, there are blending opportunities and we might still be able to meet the 76kg/hl spec.”

With about 5500t of oilseed rape now in store, oil contents were averaging 43.8% – 1 percentage point lower than last year and half a point below the five-year average, said Mr Smith.

“It’s a bit dirty, too, with admixture of up to 5%. But we haven’t had any bad feedback on yields, so I think they are alright.”

Cassata malting barley was averaging 1.8-1.85% nitrogen, and germination was fine, he added.

“We’ve had about 5000t in, most of which is feed barley, but the big problem for malting samples is skinned grains.

“About half of the samples have more than 5% skinned grains, so won’t store well enough to make the grade.”

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