1 December 1995

List debutant looks fine for cereal export blend

RECOMMENDED list newcomer Reaper could prove useful as an export wheat for blending, according to British Cereal Exports.

The variety has Brigadier-type yields, and has given good Chopin Alveograph figures over the past two years, said BCEs Alan Almond.

"It has a low P/L ratio, which is in demand by Continental millers for blending with their own high P/L varieties," he explained.

Recently, Brigadier and Hussar, which have high P/L ratios, have increased their share of UK exports, he said. "Their gross margins are such that farmers cannot afford not to grow them."

But Reaper should match them for profit, and could reverse the trend to higher P/L wheats for export. "European buyers have been used to a two-thirds/one thirds split of high and low P/L varieties. We need to continue to supply them with grain they can use. If we grow out-and-out feeders, we are very much open to risk, not least from American maize crops. We must keep our options open."

&#8226 The 2000t load of mainly Soissons wheat which was rejected by Portuguese millers at the end of August has made them "more cautious buyers" but is unlikely to have a large or long-lasting effect on exports to that country, Mr Almond maintained.

"The Portuguese dont see it as a big problem. No skullduggery is suspected.

"All the suppliers in the chain are being co-operative. There is no suggestion that something was supplied other than what was asked for. We are trying to find out now what went wrong."

New guidelines on Alveograph testing should secure better grain export opportunities, said BCEs Alan Almond.