Low yields add food cost pressure

Poultry bosses are calling for an increase in food prices after warnings from farmers over poor wheat yields across England.

Thanks to the combination of a wet summer in the UK and severe drought in the US, latest figures from the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) are forecasting a 15% fall on the five-year average and the organisation reported productivity was down to 1980s levels.

NFU chief combinable crops adviser Guy Gagen said: “We have seen a relatively low wheat yield this year – below seven tonnes per hectare. This is something not seen in the UK since the late 1980s. The abnormally high rainfall across the UK since early summer this year has depressed wheat yields.”

Now the British Poultry Council (BPC) has warned that the low harvests are going to impact up the chain. BPC chief executive Peter Bradnock said: “The costs of wheat, soyameal and corn – which are the key feed ingredients for the poultry industry and a number of other sectors – have increased significantly this year.

“For several months we have warned that British poultry producers are under real pressure from global factors and are pleased that the British Retail Consortium has accepted that this will lead to a rise in shop prices.
“If consumers are to continue to enjoy the secure supply of British poultry, food prices need to accurately reflect cost increases.”

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