Early cereal quality results confirm fears

Provisional results from the AHDB-HGCA Cereal Quality Survey confirm the low specific weight of wheat this year. At an average of 71.9kg/hl the samples analysed by 29 August do not make standard feed wheat, let alone milling quality.

“Average wheat specific weights have been hit the hardest to date, at 8% below the three year average, while Hagberg Falling Number and protein content are seen at more typical levels, said , senior analyst Charlotte Garbutt.

The late harvest means these provisional estimates are based on fewer samples than equivalent releases in previous years so should be treated cautiously, said HGCA.

Results so far are heavily biased towards the South-East and Eastern regions, and averaging 72.1kg/hl and 72.2kg/hl respectively are some of the lowest on record.

Samples received typically ranged from 64kg/hl – 80kg/hl, although some were as low as 54kg/hl. Almost 80% of the 8,603 results analysed were from the East and South-East regions, with the survey also biased towards earlier harvested group 1 and 2 bread wheats which accounted for 59% of samples, cautioned HGCA.

The overall GB barley results are from 9,800 samples are mainly from winter crops with specific weights estimated to be 4% lower than the three year average, with wide ranging screenings results. Nitrogen content levels in samples received to date are provisionally estimated at 1.66%, an improvement on last year.

Average specific weight in GB winter barleys is 64.4kg/hl, lower than last season’s final result of 66.5kg/hl and than the three year average of 67kg/hl. The typical range of samples was 57kg/hl to 70kg/hl but some were as low as 45kg/hl. Nitrogen content in winter barleys to 29 August was 1.68%, slightly lower than last year.

Screening results are poorer in general with an average of 3.7% of grain passing through a 2.25mm sieve (higher than 2011 and the three year average) and 88.6% of grain retained by a 2.5mm sieve (lower than 2011 and the three year average).

This is an indicator that this year’s crop is less consistent than average with a greater number of shrivelled grains, however the survey returned a very broad range of samples, said HGCA.

Updated results will be released at the end of September and October when final sample numbers are typically around 60,000 for wheat and 25,000 for barley.


 Wheat Estimates      
 GB Wheat to 29 Aug 2012  2009 Final 2010 Final 2011 Final  3 Year Average  Biased towards SE & E regions and nabim groups 1 & 2
 2012 Provisional  Approximate Range
 Specific Weight (kg/hl)  76.9  77.0  78.7  77.5  71.9  64 – 80
 Hagberg Falling Number (seconds)  263  270  269  267  267  119 – 416
Protein Content (%) 11.6 11.9 12.0 11.8 12.7 9.9 – 15.4


Barley Estimates      

 GB Barley to 29 Aug 2012

(Winter and Spring varieties)

 2009 Final 2010 Final 2011 Final  3 Year Average  Biased towards winter barley varieties
 2012 Provisional  Approximate Range
 Specific Weight (kg/hl)  66.3  67.0  66.4  66.6  64.0  57 – 70
 Nitrogen Content (%)  1.61  1.64  1.71  1.65  1.66  1.3 – 2.0

Grain through 2.25mm sieve (%)

1.5 1.9 1.4 1.6 3.6 0 – 12
 Grain retained 2.5mm sieve (%)  95.0  94.1  95.8  95.0  88.9  69 – 99

For more on this topic

See our Harvest 2012 page