Wheat quality above average, says HGCA

Provisional results from the AHDB/HGCA’s annual Cereal Quality Survey show that wheat quality is better than last year, although barley quality has slipped slightly.

From the 20,683 wheat samples analysed by 19 August, specific weights and Hagbergs were above average, but protein content was lower than in recent years.

Specific weights were averaging 78.7kg/hl, with Hagbergs at 331 seconds and protein 11.7%.

However, the samples were biased towards Group one varieties grown in the East and South East, so did not represent the entire GB crop, said the report.

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“Although the lower protein content is not ideal, it can be potentially corrected, at a cost, by adding gluten or blending with imported wheat to meet domestic requirements,” it added.

“It is much more difficult to compensate for low Hagbergs. Furthermore, GB wheat may still meet export customer requirements, despite the lower protein content.”

With other key EU wheat producers expecting large, poor quality wheat crops, the UK’s good quality was excellent news for exporters, said Amandeep Kaur Purewal, AHDB/HGCA senior analyst.

“We are expecting a large surplus of feed wheat in the EU. A good quality wheat crop could provide Great Britain with a competitive edge, after an absence of two seasons from the export market.”

Provisional barley results showed a slight decline in quality compared with 2013.

Analysis of 9,382 barley samples – over half of which was winter barley – revealed an average specific weight of 66.9 kg/hl, with nitrogen contents averaging 1.55% and screenings through a 2.25mm sieve at 2.2%.

“The nitrogen content, at present, is the lowest seen in recent years and the screening results are showing a smaller than average grain size,” said the report. “However, this year’s results are markedly better than the poor quality obtained in 2012.”

Further provisional results from the Cereal Quality Survey would be available in late September, with the final results published in late October/early November.