Quality needed to shift wheat

6 March 1998

Quality needed to shift wheat

QUALITY will be the vital ingredient in the coming wheat crop if a potential 5.2m tonne surplus is to be shifted.

Growers looking to shave production costs must bear that in mind, Gary Hutchings, Dalgety crop market development manager, told a recent British Cereal Exports conference at York.

The extra 5% of wheat planted last autumn would produce 16.6m tonnes at a five-year average yield of 7.6t/ha (3 tons/acre).

With no change expected in human or animal consumption, plus extra carryover, this would leave 5.2m tonnes to be exported.

One of the most important markets is Spain, with an annual requirement for UK wheat app-roaching 1m tonnes. Spanish miller, Javier Belenguer, said good durum wheat prices had tempted some Spanish farmers away from soft wheat. Home-produced wheat quality had also suffered.

Farm assurance would help firm that market, he believed. The quality of British soft wheats was not always what millers desired.

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