Market report: Quality boost for UK grain

British wheat and barley quality is better this year than in 2008, according to the HGCA’s final survey.

Wheat protein contents averaged 11.6% – up from 11.3% last year, Hagbergs are estimated at 263 against 228, and specific weight is pegged at 76.9kg/hl, up from 75.5kg/hl. The grain was also drier, at 15% moisture compared to 16.1% last year, helping to reduce drying costs.

Barley quality was similarly improved, with a specific weight of 66.3 kg/hl, nitrogen content of 1.61%, and very low screenings.

DEFRA’s first estimate of supply and demand for the 2009/10 season, released last week, put UK wheat availability at 17.9m tonnes, 12% down on last season and 200,000t below the five-year average. Although 60% larger opening stocks partly offset the smaller crop, this year’s exportable surplus is forecast at be 2.2m tonnes – 39% below last year.

Barley availability is seen at 8m tonnes, up 14% on last season, leaving an exportable surplus of 1.2m tonnes – double the five-year average.

Meanwhile, offers of barley into intervention have begun for the first time since February 2006, with 5146t offered into UK stores as of 10 November. The current intervention price for November is £90.96/t delivered.

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