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Shooting industry concern over soaring wheat prices.

Wheat prices for delivery in November reached more than £150 per tonne last week, leading to concern that shoots will be hit with big feed bills this winter.

Speculation on the wheat market has led to wheat prices soaring after Russia?s prime minister Vladimir Putin?s recent announcement of a grain export ban.

This comes after the worst drought in the country for more than 50 years.

Trading on the London futures market hit £169/t for November delivery earlier this month, almost 60% on the price a month earlier. ?I have heard some scary figures of the price per tonne for wheat,? said BASC?s head of gamekeeping Tom Blades, ?but a lot of the impact of prices like that depend on whether shoots have preordered their wheat. These prices won?t have an impact on pellet prices for this season, as that is done and dusted, but certainly people need to be aware of the possible effect on next year?s prices.?

Rather than concerning themselves with global prices, Tom advised shoots to take action where they can to mitigate the effect of high costs: ?With such high prices, shoots really need to make sure that they are feeding efficiently, but they also need to look at storage to ensure it is dry, pest-free and that they are not going to be losing lots of wheat to birds getting in and taking it. Look at how you are using your wheat now ? the price is dictated by factors that we can?t control. The wheat market is a global industry, and the demands of the shooting community is a very small part of it.?

World wheat production this year has dropped according to the US Department of Agriculture?s (USDA) estimate, and is now estimated at 646million tonnes, down15million tonnes on the USDA?s July estimate. In 2009/10, 680million tonnes of wheat were produced globally.

There have been falls in Russian production, as well as in the Ukraine and in the EU, leading to the higher prices.

Chris Horne, director of the online shooting broker GunsOnPegs.com, commented that the impact on shoots that haven?t bought in advance could be considerable thanks to speculators on the market: ?I know that some shoots have been quite savvy and bought wheat ages ago, but the price has gone up sharply. A lot of shoots buy a bit of wheat until it runs out, and then they top up with what they need ? there is a good chance they could find that their feed bill gets a bit more expensive this season.?

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