16 June 1995

BCEspell out what exporters look for

A NEW table giving details of the wheats preferred by overseas buyers was launched at this weeks Cereals 95 event by British Cereal Exports.

Some 26 varieties are listed, giving their NIAB specifications, together with Chopin Alveograph results – used by Continental millers to test their suitability for baking. The table also shows which export wheat varieties are suitable (or otherwise) for bread flour, blended flour, biscuit flour or animal feed.

While the varieties are grouped according to the National Association of British and Irish Millers (NABIM) wheat guide, the BCE table emphasises the distinct nature of the Continental grain market.

For example, Mercia is considered "not suitable" for either bread, blended or biscuit flour. It is only listed as a feed wheat. And, while in terms of specific weight, hagberg and protein, Brigadier would seem to be a better bet than Riband, on the export market it only scores as a feeder. Riband, on the other hand, is also suitable for biscuit and blended flour.

"Hopefully the table will help farmers keep a more open mind when it comes to selecting their seed," says BCEs manager, Alan Almond. "They should look at the end uses and aim for a balanced crop."

BCE estimates that as much as 40% of the export market is now for blending wheat – to mix with local grain. For this it lists Soissons, Riband and Hunter as suitable, with Hereward, Mercia, Rialto, Brigadier and Hussar as unsuitable.

But for any export market, growers should aim for good specific weight, at least 225 hagberg and 10% protein.

&#8226 With UK cereal growers soon to harvest potentially the largest crop in recent years, export prospects remain buoyant. Early harvest reports from Spain and Portugal confirm the poor performance of their drought stricken crops, says Mr Almond, while currency factors continue to favour the UK as a supplier. At 7.5m tonnes, EU intervention stocks are also the lowest they have been for a long time, with just 1.5m tonnes of this suitable for human consumption.