Farming News - Consistency is key message at AHDB Milling Wheat Conference

Consistency is key message at AHDB Milling Wheat Conference

The AHDB Milling Wheat Conference highlighted the importance of the supply chain through links between growers, millers and the final baked product to produce an excellent quality loaf for the customer.

Meeting specification to ensure consistency for all in the supply chain was a key theme from the conference, along with a focus on the customer and the need to be sustainable and profitable going forwards.

George Mason, Senior Executive at Heygates Ltd, said: “In all sectors of agriculture we see various challenges, from production and logistics, through to primary and secondary manufacture. At the Milling Wheat Conference, we’ve brought together the supply chain to look for efficiencies throughout production.

“We are trying to ensure food supplies for our country, especially in these political times of uncertainty, and we have to be working together to stay in profit and invest in the future.”

Growers, breeders, agronomists, millers and merchants came together at the conference to hear industry experts deliver a packed and informative programme, to exchange knowledge and to share best practice. The event emphasised the role of quality from variety selection, agronomy management and post-harvest storage, through to milling and baking.

Sarah Clarke, Crop Physiologist at ADAS, discussed effective nutrition programmes, and said: “Variety choice and nutrition are both key to achieving bread-making quality. Growers can benchmark and learn more about their quality from entering the YEN Wheat Quality Award and could think about carrying out tramline trials for nutrition programmes to see what could be achieved on their farm.”

At the conference, Alex Wilcox was announced the YEN Wheat Quality Award winner for harvest 2018, sponsored by Hutchinsons. The awards, sponsored by nabim, recognise excellence and innovation in achieving consistent, high quality, wheat yields.

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The YEN Wheat Quality Award winners are:

First Place: Alex Wilcox, A&J Wilcox, King’s Lynn, Norfolk. Sponsor - Hutchinsons

Second Place: Sam Markillie, Arthur Markillie Ltd, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire. Sponsor - Hutchinsons

Third Place: Richard Carr, LE Carr & Sons, Maldon, Essex.  Sponsor - Hutchinsons

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Alex Wilcox, who farms 250 ha at Stowbridge on the Fens, said: “Our farm is one of the regional technology centres for Hutchinson’s, which means we benefit from support and interest from new agronomists coming in to learn and develop. I am a grower but I’m also an agronomist, and I want to learn about pushing the boundaries of yield for our farm and our growers.

“For me, the key elements for growing quality milling wheat are a healthy, well-structured soil, achieved through organic matter applications and soil management. It involves attention to detail in agronomy from seed bed conditions and nutrition through to fungicides.”

Alex’s entry was the highest yielding with 12.16 t/ha and highest protein yield of 1.35 t/ha.

Mark Charlton, from Allied Technical Centre and chair of the nabim variety working group, said, “The winning entry demonstrated great grain quality, good gluten rheology and produced the best loaves with excellent colour, structure and texture.”

Closing the conference, Martin Grantley-Smith, AHDB Strategy Director for Cereals and Oilseeds, said: “Whatever the situation post-Brexit, there will always be great opportunities for the UK milling wheat supply chains because we produce very good quality products.

“However, we must not be complacent and we must continue to strive to ensure our quality remains high and consistent, as well as delivering in the most cost-effective manner.”

Presentation slides from the day and biography videos of the YEN Wheat Quality Award winners can be found at