Image:Dried-out wheat field
Mikhail Metzel  /  AP
A wheat field dried-out after weeks of searing heat and practically no rain in Voronezh region, some 257 miles south of Moscow.
Alison
By Allison Linn Senior writer
msnbc.com
updated 8/6/2010 6:50:10 PM ET 2010-08-06T22:50:10

Your daily bread will cost a few pennies more thanks to wildfires and drought in Russia.

Russia’s decision to ban grain exports for the remainder of the year will likely have some ripple effect on the price you pay for bread, pasta and other staples, but prices shouldn’t rise too significantly.

“There probably will be some increase in the price of bread and other wheat-based products,” said Tom Jackson, senior economist for agriculture with IHS Global Insight. “I think we’re already seeing some indication that will happen.”

Still, any increase in your favorite loaf of bread or bag of pasta is not expected to be nearly as bad as in 2008, when the price of food shot up as grain prices soared. That’s partly because the amount of wheat available is much greater than it was then, and partly because the economy is much weaker.

Russia said Thursday that it would ban wheat exports from Aug. 15 until the rest of the year after millions of acres were destroyed by the country's worst drought in 130 years and by raging wildfires prompted in part by a heat wave. The country’s government said the ban on exports was necessary to keep the price the country’s own people pay for food from rising too much.

The decision sent wheat prices soaring on Thursday, although prices fell somewhat on Friday.

Russia does play an important role in how the world gets its carbohydrates: It was the fourth largest exporter of wheat in 2009, according to Christopher Hurt, an agricultural economist at Purdue University.

Still, the U.S. is the largest wheat exporter and Hurt said the good news — for prices and for the world’s wheat eaters — is that the American farmers are expected to have a lot of wheat to sell this year.

Hurt expects annualized food inflation to be around 1 percent this year, with a rise in wheat prices playing a small part in that increase.

Jackson said one reason the price of wheat won’t affect food prices too much is because wheat is grown widely throughout the world, so a shortage in one country can generally be made up for in another. Other grains, such as corn, are grown in more concentrated areas, so one bad crop will have a bigger impact.

The economy also is considerably weaker than in 2008, when Americans were suddenly hit with higher grocery store bills.

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“Particularly earlier in 2008, you just felt like you could put whatever price you wanted on (food) and you really weren’t worried about a kickback from consumers, but you just can’t have that confidence right now,” Jackson said.

He said that food producers can only absorb so much of an increase before they have to start thinking about passing costs on to the customer.

“A question that bread makers and folks are going to have to ask is, ‘How much can you get away with?'” Jackson said.

Worried about your grocery bill? Take a break and follow me on Twitter @alinnmsnbc

© 2013 msnbc.com Reprints

Video: Wheat wildfire

Photos: Fires rage across Russia

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  1. Front to back, Oleg Mikhailo, his father Valentin and son Anatoly, clear the site of the fire where their house burned to the ground in the village of Kartonosovo in Ryazan region, 111 miles southeast of Moscow on Thursday, Aug. 12. (Misha Japaridze / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. A Belarussian firefighter works to extinguish a fire in a forest near the village of Ryabinovka, Ryazan region, on Aug. 12. The number and extent of forest fires in Russia‘s central European provinces showed signs of abating for the first time in weeks. (Maxim Shipenkov / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Volunteers on their way to extinguishing a forest fire near the village of Tokhushevo, on Wednesday, Aug. 11. A new wildfire broke out Wednesday near a major nuclear research centre in the Russian town of Sarov, causing the plant's management to ask firefighters and troops to reverse their withdrawal. (Viktor Drachev / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. A helicopter carries water before releasing it over a forest fire near the settlement of Kustarevka in Ryazan region, 211 miles southeast of Moscow on Tuesday, Aug. 10. (Denis Sinyakov / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Firefighters watch as heavy smoke billows near Kustaryovka, Ryazan region, on Tuesday, Aug. 10. Hundreds of wildfires have swept western Russia and cloaked Moscow in suffocating smog. (Maxim Shipenkov / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. A small dog outfitted with a face mask walks in Moscow on Aug. 10. (Viktor Drachev / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. A passenger looks at airplanes shrouded in heavy smog caused by peat fires at Vnukovo airport outside Moscow on Aug. 9. (Alexander Natruskin / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Residents attempt to extinguish a fire near the village of Polyaki-Maydan in Ryazan region, some 235 miles southeast of Moscow, on Aug. 9. (Denis Sinyakov / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. People rest on the Manezhaya Square just outside the Kremlin Aug. 9, enjoying the brief respite from the smog due to a change in the wind direction. Deaths in Moscow have doubled to an average of 700 people a day as the Russian capital is engulfed by poisonous smog from wildfires and a sweltering heat wave, a top health official said. (Ivan Sekretarev / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. A forest fire spreads near the village of Verkhnyaya Vereya in Nizhny Novgorod region, 225 miles east of Moscow, on Aug. 7. This picture was received Aug. 8. (Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. People cover their faces with cloth to protect themselves from the smell of heavy smog while waiting for their flight at Domodedovo airport outside Moscow on Aug. 8. (Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Residents walk amidst the debris of their houses, as they search for their belongings with heavy smog shrouding the village of Laskovo, Russia, on Aug. 8. (Denis Sinyakov / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Women trying to protect themselves from the smell of heavy smog caused by peat fires in nearby forests, sit inside a train at an underground railway station in Moscow on Aug. 8. (Alexander Demianchuk / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. People attend a religious service, asking God for rains to prevent new wildfire outbursts, in the village of Kriusha, Russia, on Saturday, Aug. 7. (Denis Sinyakov / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. A newly married couple shares a tender moment despite the deep layer of smog from wildfires covering the ancient Russian city of Ryazan, Russia, on Aug. 7. (Sergey Ponomarev / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. People sit amidst the charred ruins of the village of Peredeltsy burned to the ground by a spreading wildfire in Ryazan region, some 111 miles southeast of Moscow, Moscow, Friday, Aug. 6. More than 500 separate blazes were burning nationwide Friday mainly across western Russia, amid the country's most intense heat wave in 130 years. (Sergey Ponomarev / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Russians and tourists wear facemasks to protect themselves from forest fire smog while walking on Red Square in Moscow on Friday, Aug. 6. Smog from wildfires in the countryside choked Moscow, with the levels of toxic particles, raising alarm over public health and numerous commuters wearing anti-pollution masks. (Natalia Kolesnikova / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Russian servicemen remove felled trees, cut down to limit the spread of fire outside Lukhovitsy, 68 miles southeast of Moscow on Aug. 6. (Denis Sinyakov / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Russian women look at the charred remians of a building south of Moscow in Izlegoshche on Aug. 6. The village of Izlegoshche was completely destroyed by wildfires and will not be rebuilt, according to an administrative decision. (Alexey Sazonov / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Crews try to keep the fires from spreading to the village Golovanovo, Ryazan region, on Thursday, Aug. 5. Russia was struggling to contain the worst wildfires in its modern history. At least 50 people have been killed. (Natalia Kolesnikova / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Cars drive through thick smoke from wildfires close to the road in the city of Balashikha just east of Moscow on Aug. 5 (Sergei Chirikov / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. A firefighter attempts to extinguish a forest fire near the village of Dolginino in the Ryazan region, 111 miles southeast of Moscow on Aug. 4. (Str / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. People walk past the Kremlin shrouded in smog on Aug. 4. Air quality levels in Moscow tumbled to an eight-year low as the Russian capital was blanketed in thick smoke from forest and peat fires. (Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Russian firefighters cut a path between a forest and the village of Kupavna to stop fire from spreading on Aug. 3. (Maxim Shipenkov / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Residents fill pails with water as they work to extinguish a forest fire near the settlement of Provolochnoye in the Nizhny Novgorod region, about 185 miles from Moscow on Aug. 3. (Yuri Kochetkov / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Smoke rises east of Moscow in this satellite image released on Aug. 3. (European Space Agency via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. A woman surveys the remains of private storage buildings and garages with her son after fire destroyed the structures in Ostfievo, outisde Moscow, on Aug. 3. (Maxim Shipenkov / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Residents comb debris for belongings destroyed by fire outside Moscow on Aug. 3. (Maxim Shipenkov / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Russian servicemen fighting forest and peat fires rest in a forest near the town of Gus-Khrustalny in the Vladimir region, southeast of Moscow on Monday, Aug. 2. At least 34 people have died in wildfires that have destroyed hundreds of homes and burned through vast spans of tinder-dry land, but firefighters are making headway and the blazes are dying down, a Russian official said Monday. (Yuri Kochetkov / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. A burned car sits amidst the ruins of houses that were destroyed by a forest fire in the village of Shuberskoe, north of the town of Voronezh, Russia, on Monday. (Mikhail Metzel / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. Maria Orehova, 76, weeps at a distribution center for donated clothes after her house was burned by a forest fire in a suburb of the town of Voronezh on Monday. (Mikhail Metzel / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Moscow's St. Basil's cathedral and Lenin's Mausoleum, right, are seen through the smog covering Russia's capital. (Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. A Russian man watches forest fires burn in Beloomut late on Sunday, August 1. (Andrey Smirnov / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. A firefighter works to extinguish forest fires on the outskirts of the Russian city of Voronezh on Saturday, July 31. Hundreds of thousands of firefighters, including army troops, battled blazes raging across central Russia during the worst heat wave in decades. (Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. A firefighter douses flames among trees in the village of Lesnoye on July 31. (Artyom Korotayev / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. A man searches through the rubble for his belongings after a fire swept through the village of Mokhovoye. (Artyom Korotayev / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. Firefighters try to douse a fire set at the edge of Voronezh. (Alexey Sazonov / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. Residents cover their noses from the smog as they sit outside their houses in the village of Vilya on July 31. (Mikhail Voskresensky / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. A man inspects a burnt building in the village of Beloomut on July 31. (Andrey Smirnov / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. An elderly woman holding a chicken is comforted in front of her burned home on the outskirts of the city of Voronezh on July 30. (Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. A firefighter works to extinguish a fire amidst the debris of a burnt house near Voronezh on Friday. Fires in Voronezh, Nizhny Nvogorod and the Moscow region have detroyed more than 1,000 homes. (Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. A soldier walks past birch trees damaged by fire, on the outskirts of Voronezh. (Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, right, Nizhny Novgorod region Governor Valery Shantsev, center, and an Emergency Situation ministry officer inspect a village burnt down by wildfire in the Vyksa district of the Nizhny Novgorod region on Friday. Over 2,000 people have been left homeless by wildfires ."Before winter, each house will be restored," Putin told the villagers. "I promise — the village will be rebuilt." (Alexey Druzhinyn / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  44. Sweet peppers are seen in front of the ruins of a burned house near Voronezh on Friday. (Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  45. A woman holds icons and a cross as fire caused by severe heat burns nearby, outside the town of Vyksa, on Thursday, July 29. (Mikhail Voskresensky / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  46. Men walk in front of a burning building outside the town of Vyksa on July 29, 2010. (Mikhail Voskresensky / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  47. A woman sits amidst her belongings watching a fire burn outside the town of Vyksa on July 29. (Mikhail Voskresensky / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  48. A woman passes by a church while heavy smoke from the fires fills the sky outside the town of Vyksa on July 29. (Mikhail Voskresensky / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  49. A grass fire burns at Khodynskoe Pole aviation museum in Moscow on July 29. (AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  50. Local residents make a human chain to carry buckets of water to extinguishes a peat fire in a forest near the town of Shatura, southeast of Moscow on July 29. (Sergey Ponomarev / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  51. A firefighter works to extinguish a peat fire in a forest near the town of Shatura on July 27. (Denis Sinyakov / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  52. Moscow's Kremlin is covered by heavy smog on July 27 . Muscovites are struggling to breathe as the capital is blanketed in smoke from peat and forest fires burning in the surrounding courtyside. (Sergei Ilnitsky / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
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