The wheat industry in the US is said to be in crisis as many farmers are no longer planting the crop because it is unprofitable, according to Reuters European Business Wire.

Both domestic use and exports of US wheat have been suffering from technology that has increased the shelf life of bakery products. There is also competition from farmers in India and the Black Sea region.

Farmers have also been hit in recent years by dramatic increases in the costs of fertiliser and fuel.

The overall effect, is that wheat production in the US has dropped by a third over the last 20 years, to an estimated 60 million acres.

Weak demand has left prices stagnating at $3-4 a bushel in recent years. This is the same as farmers received in the 1920s, although there was a spike to more than $5 a bushel last month because of drought wiping out new crops in Texas and Oklahoma.

Wheat industry groups have called a national meeting for 7 September in an attempt to reverse the decline in production.