Wheat crop achieves high average specific weight

The average specific weight for wheat harvested in 2015 is one of the highest on record, according to the provisional results of AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds’ Cereal Quality Survey 2015.

For the 22,004 wheat sample data analysed by 31 August, the provisional average specific weight was 79.8kg/hl. However, current results are predominantly based on wheat harvested in Eastern and South East England and are biased towards nabim Group 1 and 2 milling varieties. Therefore, these results are liable to change as the rest of the GB wheat crop is harvested and analysed.

The current provisional specific weight for wheat matches the provisional result for 2011, which eventually fell to 78.7kg/hl once all results were collated for the final release. 2011’s final average specific weight was the second highest on record, behind the 79.5kg/hl achieved in 1990.

Overall, results for all the key quality parameters are above the 2014 final results, and higher than the three-year average, which excludes data from 2012 given the exceptionally bad conditions that year. The average protein content, at 12.1%, is currently similar to the final 2013 result.

The provisional Hagberg Falling Number (312s) is the lowest provisional result since 2012. As a result of wet weather hitting the country since late August, with around 60% of the national crop left to cut at this point, it is likely that Hagbergs could fall lower as more samples are analysed.

Anna Lockwood, AHDB Cereals and Oilseeds Analyst said: “Final results will depend on how the weather develops in the coming weeks and a more accurate picture will be obtained as more samples are analysed from nabim Group 3 and Group 4. Nevertheless, GB wheat quality is looking promising. The average protein levels for wheat are showing an improvement and, combined with excellent specific weights and good Hagbergs, UK millers have the option to use a greater proportion of home-grown milling wheat in the total grist to meet their requirements this season.”

The new milling wheat variety, Skyfall, has achieved a specific weight and Hagberg above the Group 1 average, and an overall protein content only slightly below the Group 1 average. Skyfall made up 26% of all Group 1 samples analysed, displacing Solstice from the top three Group 1 varieties making up the overall sample.

For barley, the provisional results show a higher specific weight and nitrogen content compared with last year, but a smaller grain size.

The 14,685 barley samples analysed by 31 August revealed an average specific weight of 67.2kg/hl, above both the three-year average and provisional results from 2014. The nitrogen content is slightly higher than both the provisional and final 2014 results, but below the three year average. Initial screening results indicate a smaller grain size, with the proportion of grain retained by a 2.5mm sieve the lowest since 2012.

The first set of survey results will be updated in early October and the final 2015 Cereal Quality Survey results published in late October/early November.

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