The British wheat harvest has been delayed because of heavy rainfall.

Over 40% of the UK’s crops is yet to be harvested and farmers are concerned about the quality of the wheat, according to British Baker magazine.

Recent rains, combined with the reduced yields of this year’s crop, meant supply was “very finely balanced”, one milling expert said.

“The biggest issue is the quality of wheat that’s still in the field,” said Gary Sharkey, head of wheat procurement at Rank Hovis. “We may start to see some sprouted growth, which would render it unfit for bread-making.”

Meanwhile, scientists have taken a major step towards mapping wheat DNA. A first draft of the wheat genome was yesterday published online, in a move that paves the way for breeders to develop more productive varieties of the crop.

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