ADM Milling is establishing 'buy-back' contracts with farmers to grow commercial quantities of a new wheat variety called Torch for the 2012 harvest. This will be used to make flour for well-known UB brands, including McVitie's, Carrs and Jacob's.
The move follows concerns about a big fall in Group 3 plantings in the UK as farmers switched to higher-yielding feed wheat. Group 3 wheat accounted for about a third of the UK harvest in 2007, but just 11% of the crop in 2010, according to the HGCA.
Developed by seed company RAGT, Torch is a Group 3 winter wheat with 'candidate' status for the 2011/12 Recommended List. Merchants ADM Direct and Frontier Agriculture were selected to provide buy-back contracts for the volumes of Torch required by UB, offering farmers guaranteed premiums for specified crops.
"The Torch buy-back contract, supported by UB, confirms that wheat variety development is vital to providing end users with a point of differentiation in flour performance," said Mark Ringrose, trading manager at ADM Milling. "Growers have a chance to produce a high-yielding crop with a buy-back option to supply a major UK food manufacturer."