Winter harvest: most of Group 1 wheat meets milling spec

With two-thirds of the harvest complete, reports suggest most Group 1 winter wheat is meeting specification.

Most farmers have prioritised the Group 1 harvest, which was 65% complete at the end of last week despite recent unsettled weather. The majority of Group 1 and 2 wheats have been harvested, according to the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), with many of the remaining crops being Group 3 and 4 varieties.

The largest areas of crops harvested in the week ending 22 August were in the East Midlands (170,000 hectares/ha) and Eastern region (78,000ha), although the harvest was under way in all regions.

AHDB reported that the yield is forecast to be slightly above average at 8.0 to 8.2 tonnes per hectare (t/ha) versus a five-year average of 7.9t/ha.

There has been a lot of variability in yield, with reports of milling wheat ranging from six to 12t/ha, and feed wheat from 2.5 to 13.0t/ha. The higher figures have been from the south east, Yorkshire and eastern counties.

English crops are yielding 5% to 10% up in most regions, although only the earliest thin crops have been harvested in Scotland and yields have been below average.

Quality of most Group 1 milling wheat crops has been good, but delays in harvesting due to unsettled weather are affecting some Group 3 and 4 wheats. The Hagberg Falling Number (HFN) is ranging 220 to 350 for Group 1 milling wheat, with a protein average of 12.9% for Group 1 and 2 milling wheat.

Moisture has ranged from 16 % to 22% with most crops harvested in the week ending 22 August requiring drying.

Last year’s GB wheat crop was slightly better than the three-year average, according to the National Association of British and Irish Flour Millers, with 45% of samples meeting the full milling wheat specification of 13.0% protein, 76.0 kg/l specific weight and 250s HFN.

Meanwhile, Canadian wheat has been under pressure this year as hot and dry weather conditions brought concerns over crop production. Prices are currently up 28.4% year on year, but have fallen 6.5% month on month [Mintec].

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