MILLERS ARE rejecting up to three times more grain than usual this season as a result of poor quality crops.

Quality indicators in some areas are the worst for ten years, according to the latest survey by the Home-Grown Cereals Authority.

The 35,000 samples of wheat tested in the survey averaged 180 Hagberg, 30% under the three-year average, with soft wheat varieties doing worse still.

Group one varieties averaged 223 Hagberg, group two varieties 210 Hagberg and group three averaged 141 Hagberg.

Specific weights were also down by 1-4% compared to recent years, but protein content was marginally up in all areas at between 11.7% and 13.5%.

Peter Jones, wheat director at Rank Hovis, warned that, “the picture they‘ve painted doesn‘t match up with what we‘ve seen.

“A lot more wheat is turning up at northern mills that‘s unusable,” he said, adding that 12 out of 23 truckloads delivered to one mill showed less than 90 Hagbergs.

“There will be more wheat imported this year without a doubt.”

Grain trader Richard Whitlock at Banks Cargill said that rejections were running at two to three times more than last year.

“This is not unusual, because everyone is jockeying for position on the quality of grain that they can or can‘t take.

“It does demand a lot more attention to detail.”

He believes that rejections will tail off to finish at normal levels once the market has bedded in and farmers clear their stores back to the better grain they harvested first.