THIS YEAR‘S wide price gap between feed and milling wheat means extra care will be needed to segregate and test grain to secure the best income from the crop.

Milling premiums are available for a wide range of qualities and with such low feed values every extra pound will help the bottom line, said Alastair Dickie of the Home-Grown Cereals Authority.

The key to successful marketing this season will be to identify the quality of wheat or barley in the barn and match it to the most appropriate home, he says.

The wet weather at harvest meant much milling wheat was downgraded to feed so millers are paying up to £30/t to secure full specification wheat.

They are also offering premiums for lower grades to blend with best-quality imported supplies.

“Farmers need to be doing more than they would normally do in terms of analysis and segregation,” said Mr Dickie.

“An extra 50 points in Hagberg might be worth £3-£5/t. That multiplied by a whole crop makes a big difference.”

But some grain may not have gone into store in the best of condition. Insect infestation, hot spots and fungal attacks will all damage grain and result in rejection of loads at the mill.

Comprehensive and frequent testing of grain is essential.

  • A full range of information on storage and sampling of grain is available from the HGCA on www.hgca.com.

Marketing issues will be discussed in greater detail at the organisation‘s Market Outlook Conference on Weds, Oct 6, at Blackfriars in London.

Tickets cost £65 for levy payers. For more information, call 020 7520 3948.

Gaining from Grain is a monthly series on business strategies produced by FARMERS WEEKLY in association with the HGCA.