More flexible quality specifications in milling wheat contract

Glencore Grain and miller Hey­gates have unveiled a new milling wheat contract for farmers in central England.

The new County Pride contract, which will supply all Heygates’ Hereward wheat, offers growers the chance to sign up for two or three years. Masstock Arable will provide agronomy protocols and seed.

The new deal also offers a minimum premium of £15/t over Glencore’s feed wheat price, rising to a maximum of £25/t.

Glencore’s senior trader Nick Oakhill said the County Pride contract would also offer farmers significantly more flexible quality specifications.

“Together we have listened to the views of growers and the NFU to design a contract based on a partnership and which allows for some of the vagaries that growers face in producing quality milling wheat,” he said.

‘Earn premiums’

Target specification will be 13% protein, 76kg specific weight and 250 Hagberg. But there will be no penalties if grain arrives with hagbergs of 240-249, bushel weights from 75.5kg or over 12.8% protein.

Similarly, the contract allows for 3.4% screenings without penalty and moisture content within 15-15.3%.

Farmers can also earn premiums of up to £2/t if wheat reaches 14% protein.

Mr Oakhill said farmers would probably be within 60 miles of Heygates’ mills at Tring, Hertfordshire, and Bugbrooke, Northamptonshire.

Growers would also receive greater feedback on grain quality and this would be available on Glencore’s website. Deductions for failing to meet quality specifications would also be clearly stated, he added.

‘Securing demand’

The contract will also offer Heygates a secure supply of quality milling wheat if more farmers are tempted to switch to higher yielding feed wheats in the light of anticipated demand from the emerging biofuels sector.

“We need to secure supplies of the highest quality milling wheat to fulfil demand for flour Hereward is still by far the best wheat available for baking premium, quality bread.

“We’re aiming to give farmers a complete package – guaranteed premiums, quality bonuses and tolerances coupled with complete feedback information from deliveries,” he said.

The NFU welcomed the new contract. Combinable crops board chairman Arthur Hill said: “The offer of premiums on grain that exceeds specification is a real breakthrough in switching from a reliance on penalties to encouraging farmers to do their best for the customer.”

Heygates’ new Hereward wheat contract through trader Glencore will offer farmers more flexible quality specifications.