U.K. Millers Seen Using Less Domestic Wheat by AHDB on Quality

U.K. flour millers are expected to use less domestically-grown wheat from this year’s crop after quality deteriorated, with the poorest grain weight on record, according to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.

Of the top category bread-making wheat, only 2 percent of samples met a “high-quality bread milling specification,” compared with 40 percent in 2011, the AHDB wrote in an online report today.

“In a typical year, around 85 percent of the wheat that millers use is grown in the U.K., but this proportion is expected to be lower in 2012,” Charlotte Garbutt, a senior analyst at Kenilworth, England-based AHDB, was cited as saying in the statement.

The U.K. had its wettest summer in a century, the Met Office said in September, and rain caused disease and reduced the quality of the country’s wheat crop, the third-biggest in the European Union.

Grain weight for U.K. wheat averaged 69.6 kilograms (153 pounds) a hectoliter this season, down from 78.7 kilograms a hectoliter last year, the AHDB’s Home-Grown Cereals Authority reported last week. The indicator, known as specific weight, signals how much flour can be milled from a quantity of grain.

“Poor wheat quality creates challenges across all supply chains from growers to traders and on to domestic and overseas flour millers and feed compounders,” Garbutt said.

The highest category of U.K. wheat is known as nabim group 1 and consists of varieties that typically produce consistent milling and baking qualities, according to the National Association of British & Irish Millers.

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