Tight supplies keep UK millers' wheat price firm, but traders predict good crop

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Related tags: Bread, Wheat

The price of breadmaking wheat looks set to remain firm this year because of a sharp fall in the amount sown in the UK.According to the National...

The price of breadmaking wheat looks set to remain firm this year because of a sharp fall in the amount sown in the UK.

According to the National Association of British and Irish Millers (Nabim), just 12% of the total wheat sown was for breadmaking wheat compared with 16% the previous year.

"People expect firm prices in the next harvest year," said the Nabim director general Alexander Waugh. "In the UK, there will be a tight supply of bread- making wheat."

The milling industry uses around 5.5mt of wheat a year to produce 4.5mt of flour, of which about 60% is used for breadmaking. Up to 85% of this wheat is sourced from the UK, which is more than double the amount used in the 1970s.

Recent hot weather has not been dry enough to damage the UK crop, said Waugh, although drought has hit other wheat growing areas.

"For the time being it looks okay in the UK and most people expect a reasonable crop," he said. "But the next few weeks will be important."

Harvest is scheduled to begin in early August in the south of England with the rest of the UK crop expected to be gathered in by early September.

The grain marketing company Centaur Grain expected "a reasonable size and reasonable quality harvest", with enough supplies forecast at the moment to avoid price increases.

Centaur, which markets 1.5mt of various grains a year on behalf of 1,300 farmer members, is discussing a merger by August with Fengrain, which handles about 700,000t of grain a year.

The move would provide more widespread grain supplies from a single supplier, said Centaur.

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