Highest amount of wheat milled on record

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Wheat used by the GB milling industry (including starch and bioethanol) over the first half of the season (Jul-Dec), totalled 3.65Mt, according to latest data published by Defra. This is 10% higher than the same period last season and the highest amount of wheat milled at this point on records going back to 1997.

The rise in usage so far this season can be attributed to a couple of factors. Firstly, this season the specific weights of the domestic crop are historically low, which would suggest lower extractions rates. Therefore, more wheat has to be processed to produce the same quantity of flour.
The second factor behind the increase in usage, and arguably the main driver, is a rise in bioethanol usage. At the start of the season we saw the re-opening of one of the country’s major bioethanol plants, which has boosted demand for wheat in GB.

Breaking down the latest usage information, the amount of ‘other flour’ produced, which includes starch and bioethanol demand, from July-December 2016 was 949Kt. This is 37% higher compared to the same period last season (691Kt Jul-Dec 2015), and is also the highest amount used during this period on record.
If the pace of wheat usage by the milling and bioethanol sector persists, we could see the UK supply and demand situation tighten further. However, this is assuming that bioethanol usage will remain at its current pace.

This piece was supplied by Brenda Mullan at the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board

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