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Wheat Usage by U.K. Millers Slides as Brewer Demand Gains

Wheat use by U.K. millers in the 2011-12 season fell 7.8 percent from the previous year, while brewers and distillers raised consumption of the grain, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said.

U.K. millers, including makers of flour, starch and bioethanol, processed 5.982 million metric tons of wheat in the crop year through June, down from 6.491 million a year earlier, Defra said in a report on its website today. In June, processing totaled 551,600 tons, 0.4 percent less than the same month in 2011. The drop stemmed mostly from sliding biofuel demand, the Home-Grown Cereals Authority said in a statement.

Brewers, malt makers and distillers used 662,100 tons of wheat in the crop year, up 17 percent from the prior season, and their barley demand rose 5.2 percent to 1.809 million tons, Defra said. The industry’s barley use was the highest in eight years, according to the HGCA, a Kenilworth, England-based researcher.

“Strong demand for whiskey has driven production levels higher,” the HGCA, a unit of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, said on its website following the release of the Defra report.

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