Saturday, December 16, 2017

Provisional harvest results confirm variable quality

October 4, 2017 by  
Filed under Crops

Harvest results

Wheat protein could be on track to be the highest on record, suggest initial results from the AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds quality survey for harvest 2017.

But wet weather during harvest has affected Hagberg Falling Numbers. Average protein stood at 13.2% for 2,858 wheat samples analysed by 31 August – a record for first provisional results. It compares to the three-year average at this stage of 12.1%, says AHDB analyst James Webster.

Milling quality

“We are seeing the highest ever average protein level for GB at this stage of the cereal quality survey. However, protein content is a weak indicator of milling and baking quality. There will also be a number of questions asked about the functionality of the protein (gluten) this season.”

Hagberg Falling Numbers for all of the wheat sampled to date averaged 259s, some way below last season when they averaged 319s at the same point in the survey. The provisional result this season is also lower than the provisional result for the 2012 harvest (267s).

But Mr Webster says the 260s averages of nabim Group 1 samples this year is above the 250s level required to meet the requirements for full specification bread wheat. Even so, Hagberg levels have varied greatly across the wheat crop, ranging from 79s to 432s.

“Because the samples so far are biased to the earlier-harvested regions, we could well see the average Hagberg level falling further. Later harvested regions were hit harder by summer rainfall which led to a challenging stop-start harvest for many.”

Consistency

The nature of the fractured 2017 harvest has also raise questions over the consistency of quality of the domestic wheat crop relative to imported supplies. At 76.8kg/hl, specific weights are the lowest since 2012, but not far off last year’s first provisional average of 77.2kg/hl.

Mr Webster says: “Of the nabim Group 1 samples analysed to date, it looks like Crusoe has been most affected by the drop in Hagbergs, falling from 306s in last season’s provisional results to 247s in the 2017 first provisional estimates.”

These first provisional results have a regional bias towards East Anglia and south-east, representing 36% and 38% respectively of the total sample. Furthermore, nabim Group 1 varieties account for 62% of the samples analysed to date.

Second provisional and final results are expected to give a much clearer picture of UK wheat quality as a whole, addressing regional and varietal biases. They will provide further clarification to the extent that grain quality was affected by rain during harvest.

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