Data from the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) suggests that this year’s wheat harvest may be down nearly a third on 2012, due to extreme weather.
Some 76 farmers across England and Wales, covering some 16,000ha of land were surveyed by the NFU in May about their wheat crop.
The poll suggested that the overall harvested area on the farms was on course to be almost 30% lower than in 2012. This followed recent HGCA figures showing winter wheat planting area was 25% down year-on-year.
Unprecedented extreme weather has battered crops said the NFU.
NFU combinable crops chairman Andrew Watts said: “Our poll is a snapshot, but it is extremely worrying that planted area remaining viable for 2013 harvest on those farms looks set to be 29% smaller than last year. If this plays out nationally, we will be below average production for the second year in a row.”
National Association of British and Irish Millers (Nabim) director-general Alex Waugh told British Baker: “Autumn and winter were wet and that meant conditions were not suitable for planting and some of what was planted failed, so a 30% estimate may be about right. It is a bit early to say how this might impact on prices, but UK availability will be reduced.”
It was too soon to establish the quality of the crop in baking terms, he added, as the wheat was still green, and most crops were behind due to the cool spring.