8 December 1995

Grain harvest is a picture of quality

GENERALLY good harvesting conditions are reflected in better than average results in the annual Home-Grown Cereals Authority survey of grain quality.

Based on over 1500 wheat and 1300 barley samples, the survey* provides the most complete picture of grain quality in the country.

In wheats protein content showed a marked rise, up from an average of 10.3% last year to 10.7% this year, at 14% moisture. Specific weights were also slightly up at 78.2kg/hl, compared to 77.7kg/hl in 1994. But Hagberg levels were virtually unchanged at 309, compared with 308 in 1994.

Among HGCA group 1 milling wheats the good harvest is even more apparent, protein averaging 11.4%, Hagberg 331 and specific weight 80.1kg/hl. Axona and Spark gave the top proteins at 12.4% and 11.8% respectively, while Avalon and Genesis were top for Hagberg with 384 and 353.

Small grain problems were cut to just 2.3% of the harvest, Wales and the south-west suffering most with 6% and 3% respectively. Sprouted grains hit 0.63% of the crop, the highest for many years, almost entirely due to disastrous conditions in Scotland, where more than 10% of the grain sprouted. Hagbergs also suffered north of the border, tumbling to 260.

Barley fared less well than wheat, reports the HGCA. Specific weights were up, at 67.3kg/hl compared with 66.2kg/hl last year. But nitrogens were higher, up 0.11% to 1.83%.

Winter barleys were generally less affected by high nitrogens, Pipkin, Halcyon and Puffin scoring 1.57%, 1.66% and 1.78% respectively, while Chariot, Cooper and Derkado were 1.77%, 1.87% and 1.90%.

*The Quality of Wheat and Barley 1995 is available from the HGCA, Hamlyn House, Highgate Hill, London N19 5PR, priced £5. &#42

Barley specific weights last harvest were markedly up on 1994 levels.