Russia, Ukraine early harvest shows stable wheat quality: Cotecna

The quality of wheat in Russia and Ukraine is expected to be broadly similar to last year’s qualities according to testing done on the first parcels harvested, Arina Korchmaryova vice president - Baltic, Black and Caspian Seas business group at inspection service Cotecna has told a conference Thursday.

Speaking during the Global Grain Asia conference, Korchmaryova said the overall quality of Russian wheat is going to be in line with 2019, despite a drought in the south of the country lowering yields.

A good harvest expected in the central and northern regions of Russia, which has brought higher test weights, is expected to redress the drought-hit regions. 

Early indications suggest test weights of 79.5 kg/hl, up 1% on last year, with moisture and protein broadly stable around 11.1% and 13.13% respectively.

Foreign material is down 0.2 percentage points to 0.68% and the falling number is up 20% at 447 seconds.

For Ukraine, the first volumes delivered from fields in the country’s southern region shows slightly lower test weight – down 0.2% to 78.3 kg/hl – due to the lack of moisture and high temperatures, with moisture content also down fractionally at 12.15%.

Foreign material is up 0.05 points to 0.41%, but protein is broadly stable at 12.24%, down 0.4 percentage points, and the falling number is 6% higher at 399 seconds.

While the protein content is expected to be almost the same as last year, the proportion of feed and milling wheat grades is expected to fall back to a more typical split of around 60% feed wheat versus 40% milling wheat.

Last year, hot dry weather through key development stages boosted protein content and Ukraine harvested more high protein wheat grades than usual.

This year’s weather conditions mean that, while the protein and gluten levels remain at similar levels, the quality of protein may be quite low.

That, along with the increased presence of bugs, means the rheological properties of the batch will be affected, resulting in the downgrading of wheat form milling to feed grade.

“Due to rainfall at the ripening stage, mold development cannot be excluded,” Kochmayova said, which is also likely to complicate its sale as milling wheat.