23 June 1995

Growing whats needed is more vital than ever

"GROWERS must ensure varieties are chosen because they are appropriate for a market and not just to fill the barn."

That is the call from David Hodgson of Spillers Milling and a member of the National Association of British and Irish Millers. CAP reform and GATT mean our markets are opening up to imports, he says. Matching variety choice to need will be more crucial than ever.

Evaluation risk

"Evaluation systems of the past really have not been very helpful – there was too much risk for the grower, the merchant and the miller. That is why we developed the NABIM Variety Guide earlier this year."

The development of category two wheats, which offer some breadmaking quality with a high yield potential, is very much in the balance this season, he adds.

"We will see for the first time this year the emergence of a second category of milling wheat – it will be very interesting to see how it performs. Secondary wheats will find a place in the market provided there is a trade-off between yield and lower suitability for milling. There must be a clear distinction on price."

But he warns against a big swing to non-breadmaking, hard endosperm varieties. "They are a concern to millers. Farmers should be aware that animal feed and export are their main markets. They disqualify you from milling, which accounts for 30% of the market."

He also stresses that the milling industry is keen to answer some of the concerns growers expressed at the NABIM roadshows earlier this year. Many of those focused upon intake analysis.

NABIM member Robin Reid of Bowmans at Hitchin explains: "We are preparing a code of practice on intake for the industry, which will include sampling the lorry, all the testing we do and the standards for the tests. We need to get across the amount of testing we are doing."