Final analysis of the 2018 wheat and barley harvest has revealed high nutritional variability, particularly in protein content.

Eloise Lawlor, from Premier Nutrition, advises that routine monitoring of incoming cereals being used for feed is critical.

“Many early samples of both wheat and barley had a much lower moisture content in comparison with later harvested crops, contributing to variance in nutritional value. Therefore, local analysis will provide the most reliable data for updating raw material matrix values.

“In light of our survey results, our team of independent nutritionists will be on hand to help the industry make appropriate adjustments to maintain accurate feed formulations.”

Eloise highlights some of the most notable harvest results. “Preliminary figures indicated an increase in protein in wheat compared to 2017 cereals, due to the prolonged dry spell in the early summer. Although, analysis of later samples shows this has reversed, and on average there’s a slight decrease in protein when corrected to 13.5% moisture.

“However, in some regions a small increase in protein is seen when compared to last year on an ‘as is’ basis. Average energy from wheat has not changed since earlier reports, but it has increased from 2017 figures, largely due to this year’s drier crop,” she says.

A similar regional variation is seen in barley, although on average, protein has slightly decreased. Similarly to wheat, energy values show a slight increase.

Overall levels of both DON and zearalenone mycotoxins in wheat remain low. For barley, DON levels are low with patches of elevated zearalenone levels distributed across the country.