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U.K. Farmers Union Sees a Challenging Year as Crop Quality Falls

U.K. farmers face “a challenging year ahead” as the declining quality of this year’s harvest means merchants and processors may dock payments made for grain, the National Farmers Union said.

Better transparency is needed on how penalties are applied for quality issues including grain weights, the Stoneleigh, England-based group said today in an e-mailed statement. Average wheat grain weights, which can affect flour extraction, may be the lowest in Great Britain since 1977, after the wettest summer weather in a century, the U.K. Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board said Sept. 21.

“Farmers generally recognize the facts about this year’s harvest and that it will need to be managed,” Andrew Watts, combinable crops chairman for the NFU, said in the statement. “We are challenging merchants and processors to help by being much more transparent about the way in which claims are calculated. A difficult season will demonstrate where a farmer’s interests are best served within the trade.”

Feed wheat prices have climbed 35 percent on NYSE Liffe in London this year as excess rain in the U.K. was compounded by drought in the U.S. and Russia. The U.K. is Europe’s third-largest wheat producer, after France and Germany.

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