The poor quality of the UK wheat harvest has sparked concerns there will be a shortage of breadmaking wheat in 2009 - and has dashed hopes of a fall in bread prices.

The Home Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA) official wheat crop survey showed that the protein content, which is vital for breadmaking, was at its lowest level for over a decade. Breadmakers will have to pay more than double the usual price premium for breadmaking wheat or add gluten to their wheat to up its protein content.

"The price falls people had been hoping for are not going to happen," said HGCA director of crop marketing Alastair Dickie.

Official figures may have overestimated crop quality, warned Alex Waugh of the National Association of British and Irish Millers, claiming much of the low-quality late harvested crop did not appear to have been submitted for testing.