Meat & Livestock News

2023 Harvest in the UK Confirms Lower Quality Wheat and Barley

hand with natural wood pellet

The recent Cereal Quality Survey has confirmed that both wheat and barley from the 2023 harvest in the UK have shown a decline in quality, including specific weights. This decline is attributed to the wet weather conditions experienced during the harvest season.

Wheat Insights:

  • The survey indicates that only 13% of UK Flour Millers group 1 samples meet the typical specification, a significant drop from 33% in the previous year and 20% in 2021.
  • The average Hagberg Falling Numbers (HFNs) for wheat is at 282 seconds, likely the lowest since 2017.
  • The GB average specific weight has decreased to 75.6kg/hl from 81.2kg/hl last year.
  • Protein levels for group 1 samples average at 12.7%, slightly up from the previous year but below the three-year average of 12.9%.
  • The GB average moisture content stands at 15.0%, likely the highest since 2012.

Barley Insights:

  • The 2023 average specific weight for barley samples is at 62.6kg/hl, potentially the lowest since the survey’s inception in 1977.
  • Screening levels have deteriorated year-on-year, with winter varieties showing a more significant decline than spring varieties.
  • Nitrogen content in winter barley is comparable to last year, while spring barley samples show a higher nitrogen content than in 2022.
  • The average moisture content for barley samples is 16.0%, up from 14.3% last year.
  • The decline in quality has implications for the industry, especially for flour milling, where lower specific weights are expected to reduce extraction rates. This means more wheat would need to be milled to achieve the same flour output.