British mills buy more German wheat after sowing delays

HAMBURG, Dec 18 (Reuters) - British mills have been buying more German wheat than usual this winter after heavy rain caused serious delays to sowing of wheat in the United Kingdom, German traders said on Wednesday.

Heavy rain in October and November has delayed grain sowings in parts of the European Union with the situation particularly severe in Britain where they could trigger a significant shift to spring planted crops.

Spring crops have less time to develop than grains planted in the winter, raising the danger of a smaller crop.

“There has been more British wheat buying than normal at this time of the year,” one German trader said. “It looks like some mills are taking extra supply cover in case the delayed British crop reduces the quality of the British harvest.”

The British wheat purchases in Germany have mainly involved high quality grades with 13% and 14% protein content for delivery in 2020, traders added.

Volumes were initially described as relatively small, possibly about 30,000 to 40,000 tonnes.

“These are grades which are used for blending with lower quality wheat to achieve good quality flour,” a trader said.

British mills traditionally buy up to 275,000 to 300,000 tonnes annually in Germany mainly of high quality wheat grades. British purchases were considerably larger in past years but the increased quality of the recent UK wheat crop has reduced import needs.

Traders said they did not believe the recent purchases were connected with Brexit. (Reporting by Michael Hogan; editing by Jason Neely)

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