British poultry bosses have warned of a shortage of chicken and turkey unless they receive much-needed price rises from the supermarkets. Poultry farmers said that, like the pig sector, they were suffering from a "catastrophic" rise in global wheat prices that had added more than 25% to their costs over the past 12 months. Nearly half the cost of raising a chicken comes from the wheat it eats, and feed prices have risen more than 60% on the year, according to British Poultry Council boss Peter Bradnock. The situation is even worse in the turkey sector because the birds eat a lot more wheat. "This isn't just whingeing about prices," Bradnock told The Grocer. "Growers can absorb small cost increases, but not something on this scale." He urged the supermarkets to quit their price war or run the risk of poultry shortages in the autumn. Over the past three years, the price of a whole chicken has actually fallen 4%. There will be a lot of growers giving up this autumn because they can't make enough money," Bradnock said. "Unless prices improve by about 10%, there will start to be shortages within six months. Buyers won't just be able to fill the gap with imports." The pressure on chicken growers is being exacerbated by additional regulation, like the new IPPC pollution rules, which will cost the industry £24m this year alone. "Next to these problems, feed price increases are just the last straw," Bradnock added. The supply squeeze could be worsened by the fire that ripped through a hatchery in Lincolnshire that produces 1.25 million chicks a week - equivalent to 7% of national output. "It won't affect the multiples, but the market will be short for wholesalers and butchers," said NFU poultry board chairman Charles Bourns. An Asda spokesman said buyers would listen carefully to suppliers' calls for a farmgate price rise. "We take cost of production increases seriously," he said. "But increasing shelf prices is a last resort, so we'd probably absorb any cost increases."