12 September 1997
Poor grain harvest to hit arable farmers
UK arable farmers face a sharp drop in income. UK grain prices were at a
20-year low, said Paul Kirk, chief executive of Dalgety Agriculture.
Quality problems were the worst since 1992 with poor growing conditions and adverse weather. Farmers are likely to cut back investment in machinery.
Dalgety forecast the total grain harvest at 23.5m tonnes, down 1m tonnes on
last year. Most of the reduction would be in wheat despite a 4.2% increase in
the area planted. The average wheat yield is forecast at 7.39 tonnes per
hectare, down 10% from last years record.
Exports are likely to be tougher this year and low quality will prevent
much of the crop being sold into intervention. The price of wheat on the future markets for November delivery has slumped 28% since the April peak.