Quality concerns nationwide

Farmers and traders are becoming increasingly concerned about poor quality wheat, with low bushelweights and sprouted grains a common problem across the UK.

“We’ve seen samples as low as 60kg/hl and it’s amazing how much is left to do,” said Peter Hall, grain trader at Grainfarmers.

“What’s left can’t be good now – it’s material that will finish up on a boat being blended.”

He reckoned there was 10-15% of wheat left to cut in Lincolnshire, where some farmers were making a start on harvesting beans.

“We haven’t seen many samples of beans but so far they’re yielding fairly well and quality is pretty good.”

With grain so wet and harvest progress so slow, there were problems with people selling loads and not being able to fill them, said Frontier’s Alan Macauley.

“Drying capacity is holding everything up – the grain is not coming forward as it should be.”

In Scotland, the wheat harvest was about 60% complete, with spring barley between 50% and 90% finished, depending on location, he said.

“There is a big question mark over quality and quantity – although the barley is not over-ripe in Aberdeenshire yet.”

Grain prices had slumped over the past few days, triggered by a record world wheat crop and heavy selling on futures markets, said Grainfarmers’ Simon Ingle.

“The financial turmoil is having a knock-on effect on all commodities – there is no confidence in anything.

“We are seeing hedge funds unloading futures – it is a mirror image of last year when they were queuing up to buy.”


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