A global shortage of wheat is forcing the price of poultry up, producers have warned.

South west poultry producer Lloyd Maunder predicted that the retail price of a whole 1.5kg corn-fed chicken would go up by 20p - equivalent to 4% - as the soaring cost of wheat made the cost of chicken feed more expensive.

It was already paying 40% more for wheat than at this time last year - equivalent to 13p/kg of chicken it sells, it said. The total cost on the 500,000 chickens the company supplied to retailers each week was "significant", said commercial director Andrew Maunder, and some of it would have to be passed on to the consumer. "We're hoping a few extra pence shouldn't be that difficult to swallow if shoppers understand it's helping keep farmers on the land and in business," he said.

Poultry producers across the country would need to see price rises, added Richard Griffiths, senior executive of the British Poultry Council.