BUYERS of Australian wheat have complained quality standards have slipped since abolition of the export single desk.
The feedback is part of a survey of international customers carried out by Grain Growers Limited to produce the What the World Wants from Australian Wheat report earlier this year.
The findings of the report were relayed to growers at the recent GGL industry forum in Wagga Wagga, NSW, by the company's technical services general manager Ken Quail.
Dr Quail said not all the feedback was negative, with many customers indicating they preferred Australian wheat for the production of traditional foods, including oriental-style noodles across Asia and Middle Eastern flatbreads.
He said some of the underlying factors behind that were the whiteness of Australian wheat and flour colour.
"It has quite a few unique benefits, which make it the most suitable wheat for this purpose," Dr Quail said.
"But consistency of supply was one of the issues that was raised by customers."
One of the other comments received was that standards had slipped since deregulation of the export wheat market.
"This varied between customers, but there was certain consistencies in the messages. There was concern levels of screenings and foreign materials had increased since deregulation," he said.
Dr Quail said overseas customers had specified certain grades, but they were not always confident the wheat they were being supplied with met those grade standards.
"These issues about standards slipping were greatest with our container market.
"It is quite possible a small number of players in our container market could do a lot of damage to our broader trade by slip-ups and poor standards."
But Wheat Exports Australia chief executive officer Peter Woods said he had not found any quality complaints on a recent trip to southeast Asian markets, when he visited 15 flour mills "and not one raised the issue of degradation of the quality of Australian wheat".
But he said there had been some complaints of buyers receiving lower grades than what they had requested.
Dr Quail said international customers also had an issue with the lack of information - including seasonal conditions and production levels - about Australian wheat.
"This sort of information helps them get around issues such as consistency of supply."
Customers were also after technical support.
"They use the US and Canada as the benchmarks for supply of information and technical support," Dr Quail said.