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Press release: Kentish farmer wins Milling Wheat Yield & Quality Award

In the photo from left to right: UK Flour Millers’ Joe Brennan and Stevens Farm – Hawkhurst Ltd’s Richard Budd.


UK Flour Millers sponsors the award to celebrate farmers’ success in growing high yielding quality milling wheat

Richard Budd of Stevens Farm – Hawkhurst Ltd won the UK Flour Millers sponsored gold Milling Wheat Yield & Quality Award at this year’s Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) Conference in Peterborough. 

The Milling Wheat Yield & Quality Award recognises the farmer who achieves high yields alongside excellent grain, flour, and baking quality. 

Additional inputs, such as nitrogen fertiliser, and attention to detail are needed to consistently meet milling wheat quality criteria. This, coupled with a reputation for lower yields, has meant there has traditionally been a reluctance from some farmers to grow milling wheat.

UK Flour Millers sponsors the Milling Wheat Yield & Quality Award to celebrate farmers’ success in growing high yielding quality milling wheat that meets quality specifications and delivers good baking quality.

Ten entries’ samples were selected as finalists in the competition for analysis at the Allied Technical Centre in Maidenhead. After cleaning and small-scale milling, the flour was tested for dough quality and then test baked using a standard industry recipe. 

Richard’s winning entry, which had a yield of 11.9 tonnes/hectare, was found to have strong protein quality. This produced a very good baked loaf with large volume and a resilient, fine, and white breadcrumb. With yields this high, a single hectare (two and a half football pitches) would produce enough wheat for 15,400 loaves of bread.

Commenting on the competition results, UK Flour Millers’ head of technical and regulatory affairs, Joe Brennan, said, “Richard’s wheat combined high yields with great baking quality. It was the standout winner.” He added, “Richard’s win was no accident, he took the bronze award last year amid fierce competition, so it’s clear he’s got an approach that consistently delivers both yield and quality.”

Richard explained his success:

“The result we’ve had this year is the result of our focus on the Group 1 market, centred on the key variety Crusoe, combined with a husbandry approach honed over many years. We’ve worked with a number of varieties over the years, but from experience on our Kentish soils and quite specific local growing conditions, Crusoe provides the best yields and offers the best disease profile. 

“We direct drill and include organic manures, improving soil condition as part of the nutrition programme. This consistently yields wheat with good protein content and good specific weight, which we’ve achieved through targeted nitrogen use, paring it back as far as we can, while still hitting the magic 13% target. Going from bronze to gold in a single year is really welcome reward for the team on the Stevens’ farm.”

Sarah Clarke, ADAS technical director for crop physiology said:

“The milling wheat category is really important as it very directly links what happens on the farm with suitability for bread making, the ultimate test for a milling wheat. All this year’s entries performed very well. Perhaps most importantly, through the growers’ endeavours, we have more shared knowledge for others to access, which is at the very heart of the YEN competition.”

Joe concluded, “Initiatives like YEN are desperately needed to keep driving improvements and productivity gains on UK farms. The area of wheat grown here is in decline, so we need farms to operate as efficiently as possible or our food security will be eroded.”

About UK Flour Millers:

UK Flour Millers is the trade body for the UK flour milling industry. We support our members by facilitating reliable, sustainable, and affordable supplies of wheat, providing training, promoting good practice in health and safety, advocating for the industry, and shaping and supporting long-term research and development.


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