Food price fears rise after ‘worst harvest for 25 years’: NFU

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cereal, Harvest, Agriculture

Wet weather continues to plague UK harvests and drive up food prices
Wet weather continues to plague UK harvests and drive up food prices
Fears of soaring food prices are mounting after the National Farmers Union (NFU) warned that wheat yields in England were down by almost 15% on the five-year average, while poor harvests around the world and the global thirst for biofuels continued to drive up commodity prices.

Speaking after the second wettest UK summer on record, NFU president Peter Kendall said: “There are many farmers who are down by 25 to 30% on the wheat crop.

“In some cases you looked from the outside and thought: this crop will do over four tonnes to the acre − but it's been struggling to do three and some cases two tonnes to the acre.”

Pig and poultry market

Lower wheat yields are expected to boost the price of chicken, eggs and beef products. Kendall told BBC Radio4’s Today​ programme: “The challenge for the pig and poultry market is trying to make sure that retailers pay a fair price, because in pigs 50% of the cost is grain, while poultry it's 60%. Because the prices haven't responded yet, there are farmers saying: I'm not going to fill my sheds with poultry or pigs anymore.”

The wet UK weather also significantly reduced the size and quality of vegetable crops.

The British Retail Consortium confirmed that while retailers would do all they can to protect customers, shoppers would notice some higher prices.

Meanwhile, wet autumn weather is delaying the drilling of autumn-sown cereal crops, which threatens to affect the yield and quality of next year’s harvest.

A hot summer in Russia plus adverse US weather coupled with its vast area devoted to energy crops are also forcing up agricultural commodity prices.

Related topics: Bakery, Cereals and bakery preparations

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