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‘Stop start’ harvest leads to lower wheat protein levels

Poultry Sheds With Feed Hopper

ANALYSIS of the 2021 GB harvest has indicated that protein levels in both wheat and barley are, on average, lower than in previous years, with significant regional variation reported.

According to Premier Nutrition’s 2021 Crop Survey, unfavourable weather conditions early on caused a stop-start harvest and consequently frustration for many farmers.

See also: UK feed wheat hits new record high

Eloise Lawlor, a poultry nutritionist at the firm, says that wheat yields were slightly above the five-year average despite a slow start to the season.

“But average wheat protein is lower than previous years, which is unsurprising, given the negative correlation between yields and protein.”

Miss Lawlor stresses that these are national averages and, overall, there is a lot of regional variation.

“Although on average, our survey shows wheat protein 0.84% lower than last year, when looking more closely at regional differences, the lowest result was seen in the east of England, at 8.1%, with the highest being 13% in the central region.

Analysis

Similarly, with barley, protein levels were as low as 7.3% in the south but more than 11% in the north.

“This is why we strongly recommend the ongoing local analysis of incoming cereal samples and to speak to your feed adviser, who can provide guidance on reformulating feed rations if needed.”

Aside from protein content, Miss Lawlor warns of the presence of ergot fungus in wheat and barley, which is likely due to the cool, wet weather that was experienced during the year, but she advises that, on the whole, reports of mycotoxin levels are low.

The 2021 Crop Survey Harvest Updates are available on request from Premier Nutrition.