UK Grains Harvest 2012: What we already knew…

The global price of wheat has increased by an astounding 30% over the past 12 months – which according to the UK based National Farmers Union (NFU), has put massive pressure on farmers who buy grain to feed their livestock.

NFU President Peter Kendal was discussing the worst wheat growth in the UK since the 1980’s when he said, “The challenge for the pig and poultry market is trying to make sure that retailers pay a fair price, because in pigs 50% of the cost is grain, poultry it’s 60% – and these farmers at the moment, because the prices haven’t responded yet, they’re actually saying I’m not going to fill my sheds with poultry or pigs any more.”

The problems faced by farmers in the UK and the global increase in wheat prices are both adding to fears over rises in food prices reports the BBC News wesbsite. But The extreme weather has taken its toll on the amount of food produced and the quality of food and grain.

Martyn Jones, from the Morrisons supermarket chain, said that, for example, carrots were not quite as sweet as previous years, and the available volumes of some food was down – about 25% across most potatoes and root crops.

The worst hit areas in the UK this summer were in the South-West where a huge proportion of  UK crops are produced. Ian Johnson, south-west England spokesman for the NFU, said this year’s weather had led to a “mixed picture” for arable farmers.

He said while wheat crops had suffered, winter barley yields were up 1.6%; spring barley yields were down 7.4% and oilseed rape yields were up 5.9%.

But still for some such as Paul Harris, an arable farmer in Dorset, the difficulties look set to continue. He said, “I’ve been farming now for 40 years and it’s the worst harvest I have ever known.”

More about NFU

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