19 January 2001

Wheat survey looks good for milling

NEW crop milling wheat could be worth good money if results of a recent survey on wheat sowings prove to be accurate.

Graham Lacey, trading director of Centaur Grain, the new company formed from the merger of Lingrain and Group Cereal Services, says that initial results from a survey of more than 600 of Centaurs 1100 members show that the wheat crop will fall by a minimum of 3m tonnes if their intentions are repeated nationally. That would leave the UK with about 13.8m tonnes of grain, enough to produce a 1m tonne surplus.

"But group 1 and 2 varieties have been more adversely affected than feed wheats," says Mr Lacey. "We could have a deficit."

Centaur, officially created last week after members voted overwhelmingly to support the merger, claims to be the biggest co-op in terms of committed grain. Lingrain and Group Cereal Services will have traded a total of 1.35m tonnes of grain this season, of which 1m tonnes is guaranteed by members.

Centaur will have a trading area stretching from the south coast to the Lincs/Yorks border, and will be one of just three or four companies selling grain before long, predicts chairman, Richard Beldam. &#42