Think quality for feed wheats

31 January 1997

Think quality for feed wheats

FEED wheat growers can afford to think quality, and may lose out if they dont, according to a leading plant breeder.

Speaking at a trade launch PBI Cambridge staff claimed there was a pressing need to break the link in growers minds between quality varieties and lower yield.

By failing to take advantage of so-called added-value types, not necessarily Class 1 breadmakers, producers risk losing markets and even missing out on the safety net of intervention, they explained.

Bob Newman pointed out that about half UK production is in pure feed types, few of which meet the Zeleny standard for intervention. He believed a shift of 10-15% in favour of high yielding, better quality varieties, such as Rialto and Charger, would leave growers better placed in the face of falling grain prices.

Cargills Chris Toft echoed those views, pointing out that as surpluses grew growers would become more dependent on exports. Only by growing varieties acceptable abroad could they expect to compete, he explained.

"90% of world trade is for soft-milling wheats for human consumption." There had been a tendency for discounts for UK varieties to be masked by devaluation. In future poor weather at harvest would make it hard to shift surplus feed-only types, he said.

Although intervention could provide a home for varieties with the correct Zeleny, few growers were currently considering that outlet, according to Jonathan Hoyland of merchant Banks Doltons. &#42


&#8226 Better quality offers extra markets and intervention.

&#8226 Zeleny standard vital for intervention safety net.

&#8226 10-15% extra area in such varieties advocated.

&#8226 Also boost export chances.

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