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UK wheat imports top forecasts

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UK wheat imports finished high in 2013-14, far exceeding expectations, as exports put in their worst performance in more than 20 years, with imports of corn rising too. The UK imported 2.21m tonnes of wheat in the year to the end of June, exceeding a farm ministry estimate in May of 1.93m tonnes.

The figure also far outstripped exports which, at 431,091 tonnes, were the lowest on records going back 21 years, although in line with ministry expectations.

Over the previous decade, the UK had been a net exporter of an average of 1.5m tonnes of wheat a year.

Imports ended 2013-14 on a high note, at a nine-month high of 225,032 tonnes, fulfilling expectations of a late upsurge as domestic supplies ran low.

Most of the impact of the persistent 2012 rains were seen in 2012-13, when the poor quality of the harvest left much of the crop below even the standards demanded by feed users. However, the rainfall also impacted 2013 production too, by delaying autumn sowings, reducing it to 11.9m tonnes, the lowest level in more than a decade.