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Aussie wheat just right for udon

Did you know that certain classifications of Australian wheat are considered world’s best for the production of premium udon noodles?

A national food in Japan and Korea, the perfect udon is made from wheat that produces a bright flour with medium dough strength and excellent colour stability.

The wheat ideally suited to udon production is grown in the Western Australian wheatbelt. Western Australian wheat farmers have a long history of supplying both Japan and Korea with the wheat they prize for the production of their udon.

Also important to these markets is a consistent supply of noodle wheat  – in terms of volume and quality.

To maintain and strengthen the ‘noodle wheat’ trade relationship between Australia, Japan and Korea, Australia regular facilities ‘technical workshops’ to with the two countries.

Led by the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC), seminars were held recently in Tokyo and Seoul. The seminars were an opportunity to communicate the quality advantages of Australian wheat directly to major Japanese and Korean flour millers.

AEGIC CEO Richard Simonaitis said regular in-market engagement with wheat buyers and processors increased value for Australian growers by improving the understanding and use of Australian wheat.

“Both Japan and Korea have long been important and stable markets for Australian wheat, and AEGIC is committed to maintaining and improving the quality and value of exports to these countries,” he said.

Understanding market requirements as a whole, including future trends, is critical to understanding what opportunities exist for Australian wheat suppliers to increase market share beyond wheat for noodles.
Richard Simonaitis, CEO, Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre

The Western Australian Trade and Investment Office and Australian plant breeding company Australian Grain Technologies (AGT) also contributed to the seminars.

AEGIC is an initiative of the Grains Research and Development Corporation and the Western Australian State Government. It aims to be Australia’s leading organisation for market insight, innovation and applied technology in the grains industry.

FACTS: Australia’s noodle wheat industry
Australian Noodle Wheat (ANW) varieties have been specifically developed for udon noodle production in Japan and Korea. Collectively these countries annually purchase about 1.6mmt of noodle wheat blend (ANW and APW).
Australian noodle wheat is preferred for the production of premium udon noodles due to its excellent starch quality (high swelling properties), bright flour colour and excellent colour stability, medium dough strength, and medium protein levels.
In addition to wheat and flour quality testing, sensory testing is also an important means of evaluating wheat varieties for classification into ANW.
Ideal udon noodle should have a unique balance of softness and firmness, often described as ‘soft noodle with slight surface firmness’ combined with good elasticity and stickiness.
Colour is also important. Favourable traits include good colour and colour stability, with superior udon noodles being described as having a ‘bright, creamy, slightly yellow colour’.

Grain delivers more than $10 billion in export income to the Australian economy each year. Wheat is Australia’s most important export grain and is exported to more than 40 countries each year. Australia is the fourth largest wheat exporter in the world, contributing 15% of the total world trade. Other important Australian crops include barley, canola, oats and pulses. These crops are the focus of Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre's work in the grains sector.

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