Maintaining supplies of wheat
UK Flour Millers is dedicated to securing the continuity of quality wheat supplies at the right price. As well as a structured programme of activity the association is involved in ongoing and regular engagement with stakeholders and other influencers. Our work in this area encompasses developing new wheat varieties and taking a lead role in developing and growing the most suitable wheats.
UK millers use predominantly homegrown wheat, yet an understanding of the fluctuating and dependent forces of the global wheat harvest is important when securing supplies. UK Flour Millers produce and share regular and timely briefing notes on the market which are designed to help both customers and suppliers.
Developing wheat varieties
UK Flour Millers, along with all parties along the cereals supply chain, are active in a continual programme to develop new varieties of wheat. Varieties might be adapted to increase yield, or which produce a greater extraction rate or which have higher nutritional properties. This is mostly achieved through the work of Variety Working Group (VWG) . The group tests the quality characteristics of wheat varieties that are entered into National List and Recommended List trials (see 'Wheat Varieties' for more information on these lists). This involves milling samples of wheat and testing the flour and eventually the bread.
The group is comprised of representation from six milling companies (all UK Flour Millers members) and an associate member company involved in cereals and baking research.
The group is charged with testing potential wheat varieties using a range of milling and baking systems from which a thorough assessment of each candidate can be made. The suitability of candidates is scrutinised ahead of classification recommendations being made (see 'Wheat Varieties' for more information on UK Flour Millers Groups, or download a copy of the latest UK Flour Millers Wheat Guide).
The work of the VWG helps to ensure that milling varieties joining the Recommended List and therefore grown commercially in the UK have the quality characteristics needed by UK millers and will produce flours that meet the demands of UK bakers.
Milling wheat promotion
A sustainable domestic cereal farming sector is needed to help the UK milling industry maintain steady flour supplies. UK Flour Millers follows a programme of engagement to communicate industry requirements to key parties to ensure that milling wheat with the right qualities are available in the right quantities. This includes an annual publication The Wheat Guide which provides an assessment on wheat varieties; as well taking a lead role in the programme for the AHDB Milling Wheat Conference and attendance of various arable farming events.
To honour our commitment to maintaining homegrown milling wheat supplies we sponsor a prize in the Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) Wheat Quality Competition, run by ADAS and ourselves. This recognises farmers who achieve high yields and excellent milling quality in the same wheat crop. The long-term aim of our sponsorship and the competition is to increasing milling wheat yield without sacrificing grain quality.