Low growing costs behind top wheat

2 June 2000

Low growing costs behind top wheat

LATEST figures show Group 1 wheat varieties Shamrock and Malacca taking the top two places in NIABs gross margin comparison, making them potentially the most profitable choices on the Recommended List.

Shamrock from Advanta Seeds heads the table, with CPB Twyfords Malacca coming a close second. With gross margins of more than £700/ha (£283/acre), both were almost £40/ha (£16/acre) more profitable than the other popular breadmaker, Hereward.

The figures also show that the financial performance of Group 2 and 3 varieties depends on a premium. Even then, they may not provide as great a return as a high yielding feed wheat, with feed variety Savannah outperforming Group 3 varieties Claire and Consort.

High potential

According to Advanta, the main reason for Shamrocks high potential return is low growing costs. "An untreated yield of 81% and inherently high natural resistance to disease means it costs little to grow, even after allowance is made for a protein-boosting nitrogen application," says the firms Paul Hickman.

"This advantage will be even greater at the lower grain prices anticipated for harvest 2000."

He points to Shamrocks consistent protein level of 12.8% and a Hagberg comparable to that of Hereward. "And its high specific weight of 79.5kg/hl and a Zeleny volume of 56.1 are higher than those of Malacca and Hereward.

"The combination of all these factors suggests Shamrock will soon become established as a leading quality wheat in the UK."

A further endorsement for the variety comes from Allied Mills, which has given it preferred variety status and will offer contracts through the Cereals Industry Group for 2001.

Mark Hughes of Allied Mills says Group 1 milling contracts will be offered with Shamrock and Malacca as the preferred varieties, with only limited amounts of Hereward being sought.

"Shamrock particularly suits our needs," he says. "Its slightly softer milling characteristics are ideal for the top end of our milling and baking requirements. &#42

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