PROXIMITY TO ports, a wet climate and rapidly rising US ethanol production give UK wheat growers a world-beating advantage in the global market.

The upbeat assessment was delivered by Michael Horsch, who farms in Bavaria and the Czech Republic and runs drill manufacturing plants in both countries and North Dakota in the USA.

At a conference at the South of England Centre, Ardingly, Sussex, organised by agronomy specialists Rutherfords, Mr Horsch said: “UK growers have a big advantage in the costs of transporting wheat to ports.

“In the UK, transportation costs are far below most other grain-exporting countries.” Growers in the US midwest paid $20/t and those in the rapidly developing areas of Mato Groso, central Brazil, or Kazakhstan paid up to $50/t.”

regular rain

The UK’s climate also provided regular supplies of rain and moderate temperatures compared with the prairie producers of north and south America, central Europe and Asia, he said.

The final reason helping UK growers was the rapidly rising area of US maize diverted from wheat production, said Mr Horsch. “US ethanol production from maize, designed to reduce the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels, topped 35m tonnes last year compared with 22m tonnes only two years ago. That will reduce the supply of wheat on the world market and help to improve prices.

“There is nowhere in the world where 1t of wheat can be produced more cheaply than in the UK – if you want to do it,” he concluded.