Heavy rain earlier this month brought some relief to wheat farmers in the South East and East Anglia, but yields in the UK and across Europe are still forecast to be below average after one of the driest springs on record.

The wet weather across much of the UK would have benefited the development of the wheat crop in those areas affected by drought, said Jack Watts, AHDB senior analyst, but yields were still expected to be down by between 5-15%. "The damage has already been done, but the wet weather definitely helps," he said. "It puts a few sticking plasters over the issue for the moment, but there will be concerns all the way through to the harvest."

He added that the rain was "too little too late" for the French wheat harvest, which the French government estimates will be down by 4.6 million tonnes (mt) or -13% from 2010/11 output. This would be the lowest French wheat crop since 2007/08.

The Spanish government predicts its cereal harvest will be 20-22mt for 2011, up from 19.7mt last year, while the Ukrainian government abolished quotas for wheat and barley exports, meaning an estimated 300,000 tonnes of barley and 600,000 tonnes of wheat might be exported in June.

>>Warm weather continues to put pressure on wheat