UK wheat quality is down compared to last season according to the HGCA’s final 2008 Cereals Quality Survey.

The results show that average Hagberg, protein content and specific weight are lower, while moisture content is much higher. The quality in 2008 is down compared to all three previous seasons’ averages.

Alex Waugh, director general of UK flour milling trade body nabim, said the results were "slightly better than expected", but explained this could be due to the fact that "there is probably a lot of wheat that hasn’t been tested", so the results may not give the clearest picture of the overall crop. "Essentially we’ve been expecting reasonable prices, but cost savings that we were hoping for haven’t really been delivered," he added.

HCGA economist, Icaro Rebo-lledo, said the results show important variation across the regions, with the south west and the north more affected by the wet summer. "For instance, average regional Hagberg Falling Numbers range between 165 to 265 seconds this season, compared to 220 to 259 seconds last season," he said.

The level of protein has seen the biggest fall compared to previous years. At 11.3%, it is 1.2% lower than the three-year average of 12.4%. The average Hagberg for wheat is 230 seconds - nine seconds less than in 2007/08.

The average specific wheat varies across the country, with average weight higher than last year in the north and east, but lower in the south east, Midlands, south west and Scotland, with the average standing at 75.5kg/hl.