24 July 2002

Maximum benefits of Group 1 wheat elusive

TREAD carefully if you are thinking of switching to nabim Group 1 bread-making wheats, Colin Button warns Group 3 growers.

"There is an inherent risk that without good agronomic advice you wont get the premium you expected."

HGCA figures show only 19% of Group 1 samples last year met full bread-making spec, and since 1996 no more than one-third have done so. In 2000 the figure dropped to only 15%, he says.

"You have to ask whether you can be certain of getting the full value of changing."

Moving to a Group 2, such as Solstice or Option, could be a safer choice for many growers, he believes.

"But think very carefully. Fengrain has exported 200,000t of Group 3s this season. Walking away from outlets like that might not be sensible."

Top Group 1 premiums remain elusive, says Colin Button. HGCA figures suggest that only one-third of crops may achieve them.