Wheat consumers are getting desperate for immediate supplies, and are paying upwards of a £20/t premium for quick movement.

The early premium had only developed over the past couple of days, and had to be considerable to cover farmers’ drying costs, said John Whitelam, marketing director at Fengrain.

Producers had only cut 1-2% of their wheat in Cambs and Essex, but early sample and yield results were promising, although few crops were yet fully ripe, he said. “We are still cautiously optimistic both for yield and quality.”

Winter barley harvest was now finished in the region, with about 90% of the rape in the barn.

With so little wheat being cut and the winter barley and rape now moved where necessary, lorry availability was plentiful, said Mr Whitelam. “We’ve got the hauliers ringing up for work.”

Wheat prices had dropped by about £5/t over the past week, to around £110/t ex-farm for as-available movement, depending on location.

However, the UK was competitive on export markets, and the dollar exchange rate was favourable for shipments outside of the EU, he added.