Low quality sees millers reject more grain

MILLERS ARE rejecting up to three times more grain than usual this season as a result of poor quality crops. Hagbergs in some areas are the worst for 10 years, according to the latest Home-Grown Cereals Authority survey.

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

Group 1 varieties averaged 223 Hagberg, Group 2 varieties 210 Hagberg and Group 3 settling at 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%.

Rupert Somerscales, HGCA data analyst, said: “Rejections for quality are an unfortunate aspect of the cereals trade and their frequency is largely proportional to the overall quality of the crop. The incidence of failure to meet minimum contract specification has risen.”

Peter Jones, wheat director at Rank Hovis, said 12 out of 23 truckloads delivered to one mill showed Hagbergs below 90. “A lot more wheat is turning up at northern mills that”s unusable,” he said. “There will be more wheat imported this year without a doubt.”

Grain trader Richard Whitlock at Banks Cargill said that rejections were running two to three times above last year. He believed that rejections would tail off to more normal levels once the market had bedded in and farmers cleared their stores back to earlier harvested grain.

 Mr Whitlock advised producers to keep grain in good condition and deliver what was sold. “It’s down to accurate sampling, proper storage and sending samples to an accredited laboratory.”