High proportion of wheat meeting high quality bread milling specifications

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The proportion of nabim Group 1 varieties hitting high quality bread wheat specification is the highest for 10 years, according to the second provisional results of the AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds Cereal Quality Survey. A massive 46 per cent of the samples so far have hit the spec for this harvest.

James Webster, AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds analyst, said: “With more results now in, covering a wider area of the UK, we are beginning to get a clearer picture how the quality of this year’s harvest is shaping up.”

15,536 wheat samples in total had been analysed by 24 September 2016.

Of particular note in this year’s second provisional results is the high proportion of nabim Group 1 samples meeting a typical high quality bread wheat specification as shown in the Venn diagrams below. Forty-six per cent of the total samples analysed so far meet or exceed the required quality standards, which are a minimum specific weight of 76 kg/hl, Hagberg Falling Number (HFN) greater than or equal to 250 seconds and a minimum protein content of 13 per cent.

Last year, only 31 per cent of all the samples analysed met or exceeded the requirements for high-quality bread wheat, due to lower average protein levels.

Mr Webster added: “The high proportion meeting milling standards this year is likely to mean a greater proportion of the domestic crop being used in the UK flour milling industry. However, with a lower specific weight than in the previous two years, extraction rates are likely to be lower, which could also influence the amount of wheat required.”

Looking at all of the samples, the revised provisional average protein level for 2016 was 12.5 per cent. The protein level is only marginally lower than the level seen in the first release (12.6 per cent) but still remains up on the 2015 results and three-year average.

The average HFN for all samples was 309 seconds, a decrease on the level seen in the first provisional results (319 seconds). Even so it remains above the level of the final results from both 2014 and 2015. In the wider context, this year’s HFN is one of the highest levels on record, with only five harvests since 1977 exceeding it.

Specific weight remains below the three-year average and has also decreased compared to the level seen in the first provisional release. The overall average specific weight for 2016 is 76.7 kg/hl. The lower average level may reflect the increased proportion of nabim Group 4 samples analysed, compared to the first release. Group 4 varieties accounted for 28 per cent of the current sample, compared with 23 per cent in the first release.

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