What's going on

Annual Cereal Report Summary

Wheat is the main cereal in monogastric feed formulation in the UK. Being a main cereal in poultry especially broiler feed formulation, nutritive quality of wheat is significant. At ABN, we take extra care to monitor the quality of wheat as variation in nutrient content of cereals could affect the quality of finished feeds. The knowledge about the cereals quality help us understand the variation in wheat crop and adjust the feed formulations accordingly. Various growing conditions (e.g. growing site, climate, rainfall) could result in differences in harvested crop. Therefore, ABN in collaboration with Frontier Agriculture collects information i.e. protein, moisture, bushel weights of wheat coming into its mills and then adjust the feed formulation matrices. Although, this year wheat crop has had the lowest yield in 40 years, the crop had higher protein contents compared to 2019. The quality control (QC) data of wheat coming into ABN mills across different regions showed wheat crop with higher protein contents except for South West and South East. The largest QC data set comes from the East region (Bury, Flixborough and Walsingham mill sites) which show higher (+0.17) protein content compared with 2019. The North East (Fridaythorpe, Northallerton, Sherburn and Langwathby mill sites), Mid-counties (Enstone mill) and South Scotland (Cupar mill) showed higher protein this year (+0.89), (+0.70) and (+0.64), respectively. Conversely, the South West (Cullumpton and Uffculme mill site) and South East have recorded lower protein content (-0.22) and (-0.44) respectively compared to 2019.

Overall, in 2020, wheat had lower moisture content (0.43%) as compared to 2019. Wheat from most of the areas of the UK have generally lower moisture contents as compared with 2019, however wheat grown in the North East England and North Scotland had higher moisture content (0.36 and 0.22%, respectively) than in 2020.

Bushel weight is considered as a rapid analysis to determine the wheat quality on arrival at the mill. Data from ABN intakes at various mills showed that so far in 2020, wheat bushel weights are over 2 kg/hl higher than last year and nearly all regions are showing improvements in bushel weight. The improvements in bushel weight is another sign that wheat in 2020 is of good quality.

Rainfall and moisture level affect the quality of cereals. The met office data indicated that May and June in 2020 were warmer compared to similar months in 2019, whereas, July 2020 recorded lower temperatures compared to July 2019. 2020 was much drier as compared to 2019. Warm weather may help to improve the protein content of wheat.

Alongside wheat, the quality of barley is also important being the second most used cereals. Overall, this year barley crop has greater proportion (23%) with higher protein content (> = 10.6) compared with 2019 (6%), whereas, in comparison to 2018, there was only a marginal increase in high protein content barley. This year the proportions of low protein barley were lower as compared with 2019.

Although the levels of mycotoxins in wheat and barley seemed higher vs 2019, the levels were still well below the recommended legal limits.

ABN would like to acknowledge Frontier for providing their crop data in order to create this summary report.

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