Wheat quality up, but questions raised over supplies

11 November, 2009

The improved quality of harvested wheat crops this year could have implications for UK supply and demand balance, with potentially less availability for millers, according to the HGCA’s latest cereals report.

In the final Cereal Quality Survey of 2009, the HGCA revealed that British wheat and barley crops have been better quality this year. However, this compares to a poor season in 2008. The results should also be placed in the context of large carryover stocks, of unclear quality, totalling around three million tonnes, according to the HGCA.

Michael Archer, HGCA senior cereals and oilseeds analyst, explained: “Although quality has improved, it must be remembered this is in comparison to a very poor season in 2008. Longer-term averages suggest 2009 quality is only a little above normal.”

He told British Baker that the implications around supply and demand will mainly surround the availability of wheat and barley to millers, maltsters and exporters.

“There are a lot of questions on exactly what the impact will be, but we are potentially looking at a higher proportion of the crop meeting the quality requirements of millers, for example,” said Archer.

“However, even though it is a higher-quality crop, there is also less of it. How much millers will use will depend on how much of the new crop they can get their hands on, how much they stored from last year and also how much they import.”

The final results for wheat have shown a lower moisture content, higher Hagberg Falling Number, higher specific weight and higher protein compared to 2008. The barley results revealed a lower moisture content, higher nitrogen content and higher specific weight.

The survey was based on 61,000 samples of wheat and 30,000 samples of barley collected from laboratories around Great Britain.





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