As a top-up they sowed the spring wheat Tybalt in March and the judges - Martin Savage of NABIM (the National Association of British and Irish Millers), Pat Thornton of HGCA, and Mark Ireland, a Lincolnshire farmer and former Farmers Weekly Arable Farmer of the Year - inspected both varieties when they visited East Close Farm at the end of June.
A spokeswoman for NABIM said the judges had been impressed by the fact that although the North East is not the easiest area to grow wheat in, Stephen had achieved success despite natural challenges.
I have seen all the technical evidence from the meeting and even the FSA agreed with Ian Backhouse that it had worked really well, but NABIM
would not agree to drop their demand for a whole grain test on every milling wheat load.
Also, despite the fact that 85% of NABIM
Group 1 and Group 2 varieties harvested before the weather broke made the milling grade, early indications from the company's seed sales are that less quality wheat is being planted.
Alternatively, growers could consider growing similar high yielding soft wheats, but from the NABIM
Group 4 category.