In the current context, there is much talk about the quantity of wheat available on the markets, but the quality remains an essential element to supply to the various sectors. The food industry and manufacturers are increasingly demanding a higher quality of the wheat grain to meet the requirements of their technical processes.
On a global level, approximately 30 per cent of wheat production is used for animal feed and 70 per cent for human food. However, there are four types of outlet markets for wheat:
- The market for livestock feed
- The market for basic bread wheat
- The market for “premium” bread wheat
- The very demanding market for high quality wheat
Health standards are obviously a common criterion for these different markets.
The most important technological characteristics that segment production are protein content, specific weight, and baking strength (W, which represents the total area of the Chopin alveograph curve that compares tenacity and extensibility).
For feed, the key criterion is the specific weight, which must be above 76 kg/hectolitre. It represents the density of the grain and is very important for logistics management. But the protein content can also be important because in certain rations for monogastric animals, wheat can represent 30 per cent of the protein intake.
For the traditional bread markets, protein levels above 11 per cent and specific weights of 77-78 kg/Hl are required.
Export markets, particularly in the Mediterranean basin, and domestic markets in Europe have a growing need for “premium” wheat that can be used to obtain dough suitable for bread-making or deep-freezing. This dough requires batches with a protein content higher than 11.5 per cent to obtain stable dough that is both extensible and resistant.
Finally, for the production of pastries, rusks, brioches or buns, the quality requirements are even higher in terms of protein content (12 to 12.5 per cent minimum) and baking strength W (220 to 300 joules (W)).
I am happy to add that our Lidea varieties respond to the needs of the various sectors. For example, we have the variety ‘Sofru’, which is highly productive in the Black Sea zone and is ideal for the basic bread wheat market. And then there is ‘Solindo CS’ and the new ‘Sonatine CS’ and ‘Novic’, which are both productive and rich in protein and correspond to the “premium” markets.
And last but not least we have ‘Izalco CS’ and ‘Basaltic’, for wheat with a high protein content, which correspond perfectly to the needs of specific markets requiring very high baking properties.