Drier weather, after the wettest summer in a century,
allowed UK farmers to catch-up on their harvest - combining more than one-third of their crop in a week - but
could do little to revive grain quality.
Growers harvested more than 700,000 hectares of wheat in the
week to Tuesday, out of a little over 2.0m hectares sown, data from consultancy
The "rapid progress", which compared with 400,000 hectares the week before, turned the harvest from being the slowest in recent memory to
one showing an average rate of completion.
And it was enabled by a turn largely dry in the weather,
which also showed above-average temperatures, limiting the formation of dew
which means a slow start to field work.
"The improved weather conditions meant that there were
plenty of opportunities to harvest," Adas said.
'Price deductions common'
However, the plethora of fresh wheat supplies did little to
ease concerns of a poor quality crop.
Indeed, Adas noted a drop in Hagberg falling numbers, a measure
of the sprouting which uses up a grain's reserves and reduces its milling
"Hagberg falling numbers have held up fairly well over the
last month, but they are now starting to slip with crops harvested this week
averaging 200 seconds, down from 230 seconds last week."
On specific weight - the weight of grain per given volume,
which measures levels of shrivelled grain, and has been a particular level of
concern – while northern crops had shown some improvement overall levels "are
averaging 65-70 kilogrammes per hectolitre".
That is below the figure of 71.9kg per hectolitre suggested
by the HGCA crop bureau last month, the lowest on records going back to 1977,
besides the 76kg per hectolitre which millers typically require.
"[Price] deductions for low specific weights are common,"
Turn to imports
The poor results have prompted millers to lower their hurdles for wheat quality, taking loads with specific weights of 72kg per
hectolitre and less, besides looking abroad for supplies with higher
A major UK grain merchant reported on Friday that millers "have
now found some Swedish soft wheat to supplement scarce UK Group 3s", the lower
Higher grades are being sourced from Gemany, the merchant