Destiny of Abbot is in the balance
WINTER wheat Abbot, downgraded to nabim Group 2 after unsatisfactory baking results last season, seems to have shrugged off its weak protein ailment this harvest. But millers remain cautious.
A CCFRA report commissioned by breeder PBIC confirms commercial views of poor performance from 1998 Abbot samples. Only one of 16 assessed made bread of acceptable quality.
PBICs Sean Gardner blames exceptional environmental effects. But just what hit gluten quality remains unclear, says RHM wheat director Peter Jones.
"This years Abbot is baking better and we are paying full premiums." But intakes are being checked constantly and premiums are changing daily. "We are stepping gently. Abbot is still a Group 2 as far as nabim is concerned."
Nick Hayley, director of trading at ADM Milling, agrees Abbot is a good Group 2, on a par with Rialto. In an uncertain market premiums are currently £5-6/t below Group 1 level, he says.
Peter Knight of Worksop-based Smiths Mills is more wary. "We had a very bad experience with Abbot last year and it caused us considerable difficulties. Our customers are not particularly sympathetic to the view that 1998 was a one-off year."
Sussex-based independent crop consultant Peter Cowlrick agrees Abbots role as a breadmaker remains risky. "But as a Group 2 it stacks up very well against Rialto and Charger. This year it is being sold at £88/t, only £3-4 below Hereward and it gives 1t/acre more. We have had some crops over 5t/acre."
"Its quite possibly a southern wheat, but its more robust than Rialto. Only 25% of our Rialto in the past two years has got any premium, so we have dropped it."
Dalgetys David Neale expects Abbots market share will halve to 2% this season. "Yes it has yielded, but it is a bit weak in the straw and millers are wary of inconsistency. They dont want surprises – they want predictability."
* Poor 1998 season.
* Weak gluten problems.
* Baking better in 1999.
* Millers still cautious.
• Poor 1998 season.
• Weak gluten problems.
• Baking better in 1999.
• Millers still cautious.