Export meetings in Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and Belgium indicate a strong demand for UK milling wheat in European markets this year, according to the Home Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA).

Despite lower availability, some buyers in Spain said they expect to use more uks wheat than in previous years.

Problems in sourcing the wheat they want from France, which experienced quality issues with this year’s crop, are encouraging buyers on the Continent to turn to UK grain, claimed the HGCA, which recently organised a series of export meetings.

UK wheat varieties, such as Robigus and Claire, are sold on European markets under uks and ukp - wheat export brands launched in 2004 by HGCA for the overseas market, to provide a clear system of classification of UK wheat. Previous UK classifications did not always suit the export market due to the diversity of UK varieties and the different uses in the domestic and overseas markets.

"The recent HGCA export visits were very encouraging about the prospects for UK wheat this season; uks wheat was particularly sought after and some buyers were willing to pay a premium," said Emma Finn, HGCA exports manager.

Spanish wheat buyer Joan Moreto, of Fils de Moreto, said: "I will use more uks this season, as I can’t get what I want from France - their quality is not good."

George Forbes, chair of HGCA’s British Cereal Exports Committee, said that reduced supplies meant there are few alternatives for Continental millers.