Questions over HGCA quality survey

By Farmers Weekly staff

QUALITY questions continue to surround the Home Grown Cereal Authoritys Cereal Quality Survey, to be released at next weeks Grain 99/Farm IT event.

With all the figures in, the HGCA survey says over half of group 1 varieties are below 220 Hagberg and 36% fail to reach 180 Hagberg.

But even that is optimistic, according to some trade sources.

HGCA quality figures
  98 (%) 99 (%)
Group 1 <220 Hagberg 16 25
Group 3 <180 Hagberg 6 36
All groups <11.3% 18 35
All groups <13.5% protein 80 89

“It bears no resemblance whatsoever to my samples,” says Soufflets James Marshall.

Regional bias accounts for some of the discrepancy, he admits.

But over 50% of Hereward samples from his Warwickshire-to-Hampshire trading area are below 120 Hagberg.

“Over 80% of samples elsewhere would have to be OK for the average to be up at the HGCA level,” he says.

HGCA director of market information, Alastair Dickie, defends the data.

Samples are drawn ex-farm to order for the core survey, supplemented by samples sent in from the trade, forming a regionally and varietally representative survey.

A total of 1334 samples, including barley, were analysed.

But Mr Marshall suggests that is not enough, and asks where the samples are coming from.

Preliminary publications of survey results are raising quality expectations of overseas buyers unreasonably, he adds.

“We have had overseas buyers asking why are we not offering grain as good as the HGCA quality survey. We cant do it, and the survey is doing nobody any favours.”

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