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Wheat production in the UK has also taken a hit this year following an unusually wet winter

Wheat prices in the UK could be further hit by heavy rains in France, Europe’s largest grower of the grain, experts have warned.

French farmers are preparing for their worst wheat harvest in a decade as non-stop rain has devastated production this year.

The UK’s Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) has now warned of the impact that restrained exports from France could have on domestic wheat prices, as Britain’s wheat production too shrunk as a result of heavy rainfall earlier in the year.

“With harvests in the UK anticipated to be down by up to a fifth due to heavy rains here that were made worse by climate change, there is a real risk that a poor harvest in France could drive up prices”, said Tom Lancaster, land, food and farming analyst at the ECIU.

Data from the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) showed the prices of wheat futures have been steadily climbing since the start of March.

The ECIU had previously warned the price of bread, biscuits and beer in the UK could be at risk of increasing following consecutive months of wet weather.

Wheat, barley and oat harvests were expected to fall by more than 17% in 2024 compared with last year.

Allinson’s and Kingsmill owner Associated British Foods has also warned of potential price rises due to poorer forecasts of wheat harvest this year.

The ECIU’s Lancaster said the situation could worsen as climate change’s impacts grow.

“Warmer, wetter winters are a feature of climate change projections, and years like this that have seen farmers locked out of their fields by floods and waterlogged soils will only become more frequent until we reach net zero emissions and so stop adding to the problem.

“More green farming support now to help farmers invest in their soils, plant hedgerows and create new wetlands will also aid their resilience to both floods and drought, helping them to keep producing food in the face of worsening climate impacts, bolstering the UK’s food security”, he added.