Grains Research and Development

Date: 29.06.2015

Wheat report monitors quality issues

Author: Catherine Norwood

Image of grain

The 2014 Australian Wheat Quality Report is providing market intelligence for the users of Australian wheat.

PHOTO: Evan Collis

The 2014 Australian Wheat Quality Report has been released, providing valuable information for international trading partners along with independent analysis of crop quality issues.

No significant quality issues were identified in 2014’s crop; however, a watching brief has been placed on several functional characteristics, including flour colour.

The independent report, now in its fourth year, is designed to provide market intelligence for the users of Australian wheat. It is produced by GrainGrowers, in partnership with the GRDC-supported Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC).

AEGIC’s chief executive officer David Fienberg says millers, bakers and other processors rely on technical data such as protein, moisture and flour extraction levels to understand the functionality of the wheat they are using.

“Our customers are telling us the more information the better. In particular, they want data that is comparable in detail to that provided by our traditional competitors – the US and Canada.

”General manager of technical services at GrainGrowers Dr Ken Quail says the report is important as Australia increases its share of higher-value markets in Asia.

“Buyers want to know that there is still a system in Australia that monitors and cares about grain quality and functionality. This report gives users more confidence in Australian wheat.”

The 2014 report was produced from 1000 grain samples collected from around the country. Dr Quail says the more samples, the better the quality of information will be.

“We know it is difficult for growers at harvest, but the more samples we get, the better. This year, agronomists from Elders helped to collect samples and we also worked with grower groups in different areas.”

The report is retrospective from a buyer’s viewpoint. Published at the end of April this year, most buying decisions will already have been made. Dr Quail says they are working to publish the report earlier. While grain analysis is completed by the end of January, flour analysis takes more time to complete.

For the Australian industry as a whole, however, the report shows how seasonal conditions or the introduction of new varieties have influenced overall quality specifications in each of the grain classifications.

Favourable growing conditions in most regions in 2014 produced high-quality wheat with low levels of screenings and good test weight across all grades. All grades were sound with consistently high falling numbers. Dough strength for Australian Prime Hard and Australian Hard was high and this supported very good bread-baking performance.

Harvested Australian Noodle Wheat and Australian Premium White wheats produced flour ideal for bright, consistently coloured noodles.

However, there were some minor dips in flour colour and starch paste viscosity ratings compared with the previous year that were not readily explained by 2014 seasonal conditions. Water absorption levels also dropped slightly.

“These findings are something for us to watch,” Dr Quail says.

Average rainfall across the majority of Australia’s grainbelt during 2014, with the exception of Queensland and northern New South Wales, resulted in a wheat harvest of about 24 million tonnes – 12 per cent lower than the 2013 season.

More information:

Dr Ken Quail, GrainGrowers
02 9888 9600

ken.quail@graingrowers.com.au

AEGIC, Australian Wheat Quality Report

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GRDC Project Code AEG00008

Region National, North, Overseas, South