Heavy winter rains hit price of bread

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The Independent Online

Britain's appalling winter weather is likely to push up the price of bread. Experts are predicting a poor wheat harvest and warning that cows are producing less creamy milk.

Britain's appalling winter weather is likely to push up the price of bread. Experts are predicting a poor wheat harvest and warning that cows are producing less creamy milk.

The warning follows one of the wettest years on record, with southern England suffering the heaviest downpours since 1727.

The weather has left cows grazing in soggy conditions and wheat fields waterlogged. Experts predict that the cost of grain could rise by £10 a ton, leading to an increase of as much as 2p a loaf.

John White, director of the Federation of Bakers, said: "Wheat prices have risen and are expected to continue to rise. That increases the millers' costs, so the price of flour rises, which increases the bakers' costs."

Ministry of Agriculture figures published in the latest edition of The Grocer magazine show that average butterfat content of milk has fallen to 4.01 per cent, compared with 4.06 per cent three years ago. Protein content has also fallen in the past year, by 0.02 points to 3.28 per cent.

The Grocer said: "As every good dairy farmer knows, cows are just like humans in that they prefer sun on their backs to incessant rain. While many of us can flock to the sun to escape Britain's ... downpours, our cows have no choice but to graze and bear it. But they are ... less contented in the rain."

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