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Suffolk wheat breeder launches new bread quality variety

PUBLISHED: 10:55 12 July 2018 | UPDATED: 10:55 12 July 2018

Bill Angus with new wheat variety Mv Fredericia Picture: ROGER MOORE/AHEAD LTD

Bill Angus with new wheat variety Mv Fredericia Picture: ROGER MOORE/AHEAD LTD

Roger Moore/Ahead Ltd

A Suffolk breeder has launched a new bread quality wheat variety which it believes could mean less reliance on imported bread wheat.

Genetics business Angus Wheat Consultants Ltd, based at Rattlesden, near Bury St Edmunds, believes Mv Fredericia should work well in regions such as East Anglia.

Firm founder, Bill Angus, who set up the business after a successful career with Limagrain (UK) Ltd, said the Hungarian-bred wheat which he has selected and trialled could open up new markets to the region’s growers.

“The UK needs to reduce its reliance on imported high-protein wheat to supplement breadmaking flour grists. At present many flour millers add imported Canadian and German sourced wheats to some of their flour blends to ensure protein quality,” he said.

“The full potential of Mv Fredericia will be achieved in true milling wheat areas such as East Anglia which receive sufficient sunshine, as we know from years of experience that solar radiation is key to producing quality high-protein wheats.”

The variety is described as an awned (one with hair or bristles) wheat which suits late October to mid-March drilling, and matures four days earlier than average.

The first set of farmers are growing the variety during 2017-18 and feedback from the food and farming industry’s biggest names suggest it can produce the consistent quality flour bakers are seeking, the firm said.

Raich Growdridge, of flour millers Whitworth Bros, pointed out that almost a quarter of the UK’s 3.7mt annual milling wheat needs is imported, with high-quality hard wheat of reliably high protein something still largely only available from abroad.

He believes if the new variety can produce this specification consistently, it could replace some imported high-protein wheat. Baking tests over three years have shown it consistently fulfils the various weight, enzyme and protein standards required.

With Brexit creating concerns about imports, demand for home-produced flour is rising as new discount supermarkets and bakeries are developed.

Glencore Grain managing director James Maw predicted production for guaranteed outlets will become more important, and contract-growing will become the norm, with growers producing for demand, rather than yield.

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