Britain loses more than 2 million tonnes of wheat in 2012 due to bad weather, National Farmers Union says; lengthy cold weather also expected to hit wheat harvest this fall

LONDON , April 8, 2013 () – The bad weather has made Britain lost more than 2 million tonnes of wheat last year, said the National Farmers Union (NFU).

The lengthy cold weather is also to hit the wheat harvest this autumn, NFU president Peter Kendall said on BBC Radio 4's Today program on Saturday.

The NFU said Britain will become a net importer of wheat for the first time in a decade this year.

Kendall said the average yield fell from 7.8 tonnes a hectare to 6.7 tonnes last summer.

Based on his estimate, farmers in Britain had only managed to get three quarters of the planned wheat planted this year, so Britain was already 25 percent down on potential production.

Speaking of his recent visit to a farm in Bedfordshire, Kendall had found that the crops look pretty thin.

Kendall told the BBC: "If we got three quarters of the area planted, and the same yield as last year, we could be looking at a crop of only 11 million tonnes of wheat when we actually need 14.5 million tonnes of wheat for our own domestic use here in the UK."

But he believed that the shortage was unlikely to affect the price of bread because of the global nature of the market.

Andrew Watts, a wheat farmer and the NFU combinable crops board chairman, said: "It seems many farmers have written 2013 off and are trying to do what they can with the crops in the ground. Everyone is focussing on 2014 and making sure the land is in a good condition to get good crops then."

(c) 2013 Xinhua News Agency

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.