Can The UK Grow Enough Wheat To Make All Its Own Bread?


As i understood it, to make high grade bread, the UK has to import a large tonnage of a wheat variety the UK cannot grow, canada being one source? or am i wrong, reason i ask this, is even during ww2 when the Uk was being blockaded by AXIS forces and we were ploughing up millions of acres of pasture to grow cereals, the Uk still had to import large amounts of wheat, again from canada, please comment if you know whever we can or cant grow enought wheat of the right quality to make bread?


Arable Farmer
They import German and the Ukraine wheat as well but yes you are right, the high protein hard wheats. They also import to keep domestic milling wheat price down too. I would hazard a guess that no we do not grow enough here.
Just look at the price of it currently, that pretty much tells you everything.
DEFRA spokesman said no food shortages which means in the real world there'll be one along shortly and they wont have a clue how to sort it.
Am sure someone more knowledgable re import figures will be along shortly

Two Tone

Mixed Farmer
During WW2 the 'National Loaf' was standardised in 1942 due to the inability to assure American and Canadian wheat could be supplied in sufficient quantities to make high quality bread. It was brown and not particularly nice so as to stop people wanting to eat too much of it.

We have all seen years when standard bread making wheat quality is difficult to achieve and source, forcing the beadmakers to drop their standard.

Those of us growing group 2 wheat varieties, such as Extase, might want to consider selling it as a Bread making wheat this year. The protein requirement today is 11.5%, but even that might change.
In fact, it will be quite important to keep each Variety separate rather than putting it all in one heap. Even group 3's.

Two Tone

Mixed Farmer
IIRC, when Avalon was the NIAB top recommended variety (even though it was a group 1 miller) in the 80's, the UK could have been fully self sufficient in bread making wheat.

The reason it didn't was because at £4/tonne premium, many farmers couldn't be bothered to to wait for the inevitable phone call as to why the lorry had to be diverted to a feed mill, costing them more that the premium was worth.
Also that the millers still preferred to import some very high quality wheat to add the the grist to ensure consistent loaf quality for everyone's marmite sandwiches made with sliced bread.


The National Loaf was a bread made from 85% extraction wholemeal UK grown flour, without rye or barley it seems, with added calcium and vitamins, introduced in Britain during the Second World War. The loaf was abolished in October 1956. Apparently it was rather nasty, unsurprisingly perhaps given the low gluten content of contemporary UK wheat cultivars and the lack of the Chorleywood process to bash air into the soggy dough to make our current loaf.

Of course the potato is THE famine food producing more calories per hectare than anything else.

Humble Village Farmer

NFFN Member
You can buy a table top flour mill and find out for yourself. From experience a little bit of wheat goes a very long way.

But in answer to your question, I think we easily grow enough, it's just the flour millers like to import lots to oversupply the market and keep the price down. It's bugger all to do with quality, a considerable amount of "feed" wheat went to make bread flour in 2007 and you didn't hear many consumers complaining about that.
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