Bread prices to rise af­ter worst wheat har­vest in four decades

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Matthew Field

‘There is a lack of qual­ity do­mes­tic wheat so we may end up hav­ing to im­port from rest of the world’

THE worst wheat har­vest in four decades could cause the price of flour and bread to rise, farm­ers have warned.

Heavy rain and flood­ing meant only 40pc of the nor­mal amount of wheat was planted last year, and droughts this year fol­lowed by rain in the sum­mer have meant the crop has been of a poor qual­ity.

The har­vest cri­sis, along with the risk that the UK’s farm­ing sec­tor could be hit with tar­iffs if Brexit talks fail, could push up the price of flour and bread. Farm­ers told Sky News they feared the price of wheat would go up with a knock-on ef­fect on con­sumers.

Ed Hor­ton, a farmer near Cirences­ter, Gloucs, said: “We’ve pro­duced a third of what we usu­ally would, there­fore there’s a large hole in our cash flow and we’ve had to re­place wheat with other crops we don’t make as much money out of.

“For the food chain, there’s a lack of do­mes­ti­cally pro­duced qual­ity wheat so we may end up hav­ing to im­port wheat from other parts of the world.”

Last week, Na­tional Farm­ers Union vice-pres­i­dent Tom Brad­shaw warned food se­cu­rity needed to be high up the Gov­ern­ment’s agenda. He warned poor soil con­di­tions this year could also harm next year’s har­vest.

Mr Brad­shaw said: “The soar­ing tem­per­a­ture re­cently has taken its toll on any re­main­ing crop growth just be­fore har­vest. Many farm­ers are fac­ing a dou­ble whammy with sud­den breaks in the weather caus­ing flash floods.”

Mean­while, millers are con­cerned a no-deal Brexit could slap a fur­ther £79-a-ton tar­iff on wheat. Millers im­port­ing wheat could face fur­ther costs which would ul­ti­mately show up in su­per­mar­ket prices.

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