Our assessment of the 2016 harvest so far was published in British Baker magazine's Reporting In feature on 19 August.
New Crop So Far:
Whilst the UK wheat harvest is still in its early days, here follows our preliminary assessment of what we have seen so far.
June was very wet, giving rise to quality concerns about cereals. The winter barley harvest, generally a good indicator of wheat quality, was disappointing, with a number of very thin samples. This generated concerns that we would experience a very poor harvest like 2012. However, the weather improved and as wheat ripens a bit later than barley, the wheat quality has not been as poor as we feared.
The French harvest, which is earlier than the UK, has been disappointing in the north and the German harvest has been interrupted by rain.
Advance wheat samples from a number of regular Essex farmer-suppliers show that wheat protein levels are not particularly high and there is no sign of sprouting so far. The wheat does look a bit thinner and less bold than last year, but better so far than 2012.
It will be interesting to see how good the proteins are in the new, high-yielding bread wheat varieties; it is currently a bit early to tell.
Our initial test bakes on advanced samples show reasonable protein quality. As ever, we are blending old and new wheat crop to ensure a smooth transition, to avoid any sudden changes for bakers or supplying flour that is too green.
Our assessment of this year’s harvest is based upon the initial results we’ve seen. Essex tends to be one of the first areas to start harvest, and at the time of writing, family farmer and Director, Simon Marriage had already harvested his bread wheat, however there remains much wheat to be harvested elsewhere.