‘Washout Winter’ Spells Price Rises for Uk Shoppers With Key Crops Down by a Fifth

UK harvests of important crops could be down by nearly a fifth this year due to the unprecedented wet weather farmers have faced, increasing the likelihood that the prices of bread, beer and biscuits will rise.

Analysis by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) has estimated that the amount of wheat, barley, oats and oilseed rape could drop by 4m tonnes this year, a reduction of 17.5% compared with 2023.

The warnings come as farmers have borne the brunt of the heavy rainfall and bad weather experienced over the winter, with the UK experiencing 11 named storms since September.

In England, there was 1,695.9mm of rainfall between October 2022 and March 2024, the wettest 18-month period since records began in 1836.

This has resulted in planted crops either being flooded or damaged by the wet weather, or farmers not being able to establish crops at all.