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Improving domestic wheat quality gives edge to GBs return to export market

The provisional results of AHDB/HGCA’s annual Cereal Quality Survey 2014 show a general year-on-year improvement in GB wheat quality, leading to a positive outlook for this season’s export campaign, announces the HGCA.

For the 20,683 wheat samples analysed by 19 August, specific weights and Hagbergs are above average, although current results are showing a lower protein content compared with recent years. So far, samples are biased towards wheat harvested in the East and South East, and are not indicative of the whole GB crop.

Although the lower protein content is not ideal, it can be potentially corrected, at a cost, by adding gluten or blending with imported wheat to meet domestic requirements. It is much more difficult to compensate for low Hagbergs. Furthermore, GB wheat may still meet export customer requirements, despite the lower protein content, explains the organisation.

AHDB/HGCA senior analyst Amandeep Kaur Purewal said; “Although other key EU wheat producers are expecting large crops, wet weather has caused concerns for quality and consequently we are expecting a large surplus of feed wheat in the EU. A good quality wheat crop could provide Great Britain with a competitive edge, after an absence of two seasons from the export market.

“We do expect these provisional results to change as later-harvested samples are analysed, and any changes in the weather may also impact the final results. Nevertheless, so far, the provisional results look promising.”

For barley, the provisional Cereal Quality Survey results show a slight decline in quality compared with 2013.

Analysis of 9,382 barley samples revealed an average specific weight of 66.9 kg/hl, which is lower than in 2013 and similar to 2010’s final result. The nitrogen content, at present, is the lowest seen in recent years and the screening results are showing a smaller than average grain size. However, this year’s results are markedly better than the poor quality obtained in 2012.

The provisional results of the Cereal Quality Survey will be updated in late September, with the final results published in late October/early November.


The majority of wheat samples are from the East and South-East, accounting for 53% and 22% of the total sample size, respectively. nabim Group 1 varieties account for almost 40% of the total sample size, and so the survey is currently biased towards milling wheat and not indicative of the total wheat crop.

2012 is not included in the three-year average as adverse harvest conditions during that year led to particularly poor results, which skew the average.

GB wheat to 19/08/142010201120122013Provisional


Three-year average (excluding 2012)
Specific weight, kg/hl77.0 (77.3)78.7 (79.8)69.6 (71.9)77.0




Hagberg Falling Number, s270


269 (284)237






Protein content, %11.9 (12.2)12.0 (12.3)12.5 (12.7)12.2




  1. Results in brackets are the first provisional estimates for that year
  2. 2014 provisional estimates are based on 20,683 wheat samples

For historic data visit

  • The 2014 average specific weight, at 78.7 kg/hl, is higher than last year’s final result and currently matches 2011’s final figure. The approximate range for 2014 is 73 ­­‒ 84 kg/hl.
  • At 331 s, this year’s average Hagberg Falling Number, falls just short of 2013’s provisional result of 334s.The approximate range for 2014 is 217 ­­‒ 436s.
  • The provisional average protein content for 2014 currently stands at 11.7%, the lowest since 2009, with a range of 9.2 ­­‒ 14.1%.


Over half of all barley samples so far have been winter barley. As for wheat, the majority of samples were from the Eastern region (45%) and so the results are subject to change as more samples from northern England and Scotland are collected

GB Barley to 19/08/142010201120122013Provisional 2014Three-year average (excluding 2012)
Specific weight, kg/hl67.0 (67.6)66.4 (66.8)62.9 (64.0)67.5




Nitrogen content, %1.64 (1.67)1.71 (1.82)1.60 (1.66)1.68




Grain through 2.25mm sieve, %1.9










Grain retained by 2.5mm sieve, %94.1 (93.8)95.8 (95.8)89.8 (88.9)94.4




  1. Results in brackets are the first provisional estimates for that year
  2. 2014 provisional estimates are based on 9,382 barley samples

For historic data visit

  • For 2014, the average specific weight, at 66.9 kg/hl, is lower than 2013’s final result and slightly below the three-year average. The approximate range for 2014 is 60.9 ­­‒ 72.6 kg/hl.
  • Currently, at 1.55%, the average nitrogen content for total barley samples is the lowest since records dating back to 1977, with an approximate range of 1.18 ­­‒ 1.94%. For winter barley and spring barley, the average nitrogen content is 1.62% and 1.47% respectively.
  • Provisional screenings results indicate a smaller grain size compared with 2013, and the three-year average. The proportion of grain which passed through a 2.25 mm sieve was 2.2% (approximate range: 0 ‒ 8.7%), whilst the percentage that was retained by a 2.5 mm sieve was 93.4% (approximate range: 77.5 ‒ 100%)

  • Written by: Farmers Guide
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