November 12, 2003



UK's 2003 Wheat Harvest Best On Record

Good growing conditions and hot, sunny weather in the United Kingdom have combined to make the 2003 wheat harvest the best on record.


The results of the annual HGCA Quality Survey have confirmed what many growers already realised.


Of the main quality tests for wheat, specific weight, Hagberg falling numbers and protein content all showed average results above their respective three-year averages and in many instances the highest ever recorded.


HGCA economist Rupert Somerscales said: "The earlier results have been reinforced by the final analysis. Hagbergs are higher across the country and by variety, with specific weights substantially higher.


"Protein levels are also in the upper quartile and moisture levels were the lowest for many years.


"Results on milling suitability show a very large proportion of the wheat crop meets quality levels which are suitable for the milling industry," he said.


The average Hagberg falling number of 294 is more than 10pc higher than the three -year average figure of 264.


But there exists some exceptions.


The South-West fared less favourably, averaging 269, slightly lower than the three-year average of 271.


Average protein content was 6pc higher than the three-year average at 12.7pc.


The Midlands and West had the highest protein content at 13pc, while the North averaged 12pc. However, while the 2003 wheat crop can be considered high quality, comparisons with previous years may be misleading.


Mr Somercsales said: "UK producers are taking on board the message that varietal choice depends as much on the eventual market as well as agronomic considerations.


"The varietal composition of the UK wheat crop is therefore changing for the better, but it makes it difficult to compare like with like."

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