30 August 2001
HGCA confirms wheat worries

By Tom Allen-Stevens

This years Group 3 wheats are coming in at the lowest quality for three years, the Home Grown Cereals Authority confirmed on Wednesday 29 August.

The first of the HGCAs wheat quality updates confirms fears that were first reported over two weeks ago on the FWi/FARMERS WEEKLY Harvest Highlights service.

As heavy rain hit ripe wheat crops, growers noticed the quality of Claire in particular begin to plummet, according to reports.

These were followed by concerns for prime milling wheats, such as Hereward and Malacca, but later analyses proved most of these fears unfounded.

This has also been confirmed from results of 238 samples tested, according to HGCA economist Rupert Somerscales.

Protein content of the bread-making Group 1 and 2 wheats is in line with the average and nothing to worry about.”

But he confirms that the quality of Claire, that makes up 25% of winter wheat seed certifications this year, has taken a hit.

“Not only are results showing low specific weights down by as much as 1kg on previous years – but also lower than average protein levels at 11.1% (three year average 11.6%).”

Hagberg has been under-performing in some key varieties such as Malacca, Soissons and Claire, but the average is generally higher than in previous years.

“As more results from the barley harvest come in it looks as though overall quality continues to be much better than expected,” says Mr Somerscales.

The very first spring barley samples have slightly higher nitrogen content but, like the winter barley samples, have a much higher specific weight, he says.

Similar stories emerged at first in Harvest Highlights, but reports of split grains and pre-germinations now dominate grower and merchant feedback on the site.

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