Recent rainfall has delayed the UK harvest, with over 40% still to come in and the quality of the wheat now in question.

Meanwhile in the Ukraine, discussions by the Government as to whether to limit wheat exports for the rest of the year have been put on hold, according to news service APK-Inform Information.

Alex Waugh, director general of the National Association of British and Irish Millers, said the wet weather had really slowed down the UK harvest, but added it was too early to say whether it had affected quality.

Lewis Wright, wheat director, ADM Milling, said: "Recent rains are delaying UK and German harvests, with 40% still uncut and raising concerns over crop quality. This, coupled with the reduced yield of this year’s crop, means that supply and demand is very finely balanced, leading to daily volatility in the market."

Although wheat prices are still high, they have now stabilised. "Following the highest rise in UK November feed wheat future prices seen since 2007, the market has now stabilised to an average price of £150/t," he added.

Wright said the German crop would have a greater percentage of feed wheat this season, which had increased their milling premiums for bread-making quality wheat. "This has led to UK wheat exports being very competitive into Northern Europe, with good demand for UK bread wheat. The cash price for UK wheat is now at its highest level of the year."

Gary Sharkey, head of wheat procurement at Rank Hovis, said Pakistan is thought to have at least 0.5m tonnes of wheat held in stores now under water, which, along with the export ban in Russia and the discussions around a potential export restriction in the Ukraine, has been holding world wheat prices up, with UK prices following. "However, the biggest issue (in the UK) is the quality of wheat that’s still in the field. We may start to see some sprouted growth, which would render it unfit for bread-making."

David Wright, Wright’s Flour, commented: "The wheat left does not need any more rain or there will be doubts on Hagberg falling numbers. The poor weather has helped fuel further upwards movements on wheat prices, due to increasing premiums, particularly on the quality wheats."

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