In 2002 Premium Crops were reviewing the cereal market in the UK looking for added value opportunities for farmers. In a chance telephone call from an Essex farmer, he informed us that he had grown Red Wheat without problem. Although the yield was lower than his conventional wheat, the extra value more than made up the difference. After further research into varieties, values and agronomics Premium Crops agreed that this was indeed an opportunity for UK farmers!
Since 2003, Premium Crops have been developing the crop with agronomy trials, working with millers and securing the best varieties.
AC Barrie was the first commercially grown variety because it was the most acceptable to UK millers and the most reliable for farmers
Newer varieties like Infinity which has a 10% yield advantage over AC Barrie have now taken over and is now the Red Wheat of choice.
The strength of Red wheat is in the protein and the quality of the protein. Red wheat is a full 3% to 4% higher in protein than Class 1. Also the strength and elasticity of the protein (called gluten) is also superior. This means it can trap more gas in bubbles in the bread created by yeast during fermentation and also allow the bubbles to expand further, making the loaf larger.
Red wheat has now become an important niche wheat, giving growers a late sown option, perhaps after sugar beet or as part of a black grass control strategy.
The highest and most consistent Red wheat yields have come from mid March onwards planting, with April drilling not unusual.
With little or no yield advantages from drilling Red Wheat early, the pressure to get crops established in less than ideal conditions is greatly reduced.
Why consider Red Wheat?
- Substantial prices - typically £180 - £300/mt depending on the season
- Much lower input costs than for conventional Wheat - only half the N needed
- In the last 10 years 99% of growers have achieved full specification, compared to 29% for Class 1 Wheat
- For your security all production is backed by Blue Chip end users
- Sowing dates March - April to give you maximum flexibility
- Most consistent yields from mid-March onwards drilling date
- Spring sowing allows cheap and effective control of resistant blackgrass
- Early harvesting - 2 weeks earlier than conventional varieties
- An excellent choice as part of your marketing risk strategy
- No yield risk - all contracts are produce of the area