The level of Nabim Group 1 varieties hitting the high-quality bread wheat specification has hit a 13-year high this season.

Final results of the AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds Cereal Quality Survey have shown that 45% of samples from this harvest have hit the spec – broadly in line with provisional results.

Average protein content is 12.4%, and the average Hagberg Falling Number is 307 seconds, which are both higher than the three-year average.

The crop’s grains are small, however, at 76.7kg/hl. This is the lowest in the past four years, but just above the 76kg/hl minimum requirement for high-quality bread wheat in the UK.

The survey also revealed that the proportion of Nabim Group 1 and 2 varieties meeting or exceeding the specification for medium-quality bread wheat was up 12 percentage points year on year to 69%.

Writing in the AHDB Grain Market Daily report, analyst Millie Askew said the results had backed up anecdotal comments suggesting the UK was in a “unique” situation this season in terms of quality.

“A higher-quality domestic crop this season could encourage UK millers to use more domestic wheat,” she said. “Furthermore, a lower average wheat-specific weight this season means extraction rates are likely to be lower, which could see an increased usage in wheat milled.”

As previously reported by British Baker, greater availability of home-grown milling grade grain has already boosted use of GB wheat.

According to Defra figures, imports accounted for 12% of the 1.8 million tonnes (mt) used by the GB milling industry between July and September – the lowest level of imports used during the first quarter of the season since 2011.

This was partly due to the high quality of UK wheat this season, and also the price gap between GB and imported wheat narrowing as other EU wheat crops were impacted by poor weather.

In September, French Ministry of Agriculture body FranceAgriMer announced that French wheat production this season was estimated at 28.5 mt - the lowest since 1993/94. Germany’s wheat production is also estimated to be down on last year.