Grain column with Emma Croft

Emma Croft, farm trader at Anderson Grain Marketing Limited.
Emma Croft, farm trader at Anderson Grain Marketing Limited.

Following a volatile fortnight the UK wheat market is currently unchanged from its pre-referendum position.

New crop feed wheat for September collection is currently valued in the region of £112/T -£114/T ex-farm.

For those of you with any old crop wheat left in the shed to clear, £110/T ex-farm currently looks like a realistic offer for spot collection.

As for feed barley values, both the old and new crop markets are very difficult to judge at the moment – if movement onto the docks for export can be negotiated, values are generally better.

Post the European Referendum, the new crop grain markets appear to be taking little notice of anything physical; changes to supply/demand figures, any notable weather concerns and even the early figures from the beginning of this year’s Northern Hemisphere Harvests are all having little influence on market direction.

Instead, the market appears to be entirely focused on both politics and currency and I imagine it will continue to do so for some time yet – perhaps the release of this month’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Tuesday (12 July) will bring at least some form of physical focus for the market!?

Regardless, Harvest 2016 is now underway in both Russia and the Ukraine and according to various online reports, ‘early yields are showing a big improvement on last year’s harvest’ with some suggesting that we could be looking at a 10% improvement in Russia.

Over in neighbouring Ukraine, around 10%of the total grain harvest is now complete and yields are also promising.

Elsewhere, we are yet to see any progress in France and concerns remain for the quality of this year’s crop following a further week of wet weather.

Local authorities cut the proportion of the French winter wheat crop rated “good to very good” to 65% last week; this is a 6% decline on the figures given the week previous and a 20% decline in the last seven weeks. This time last year, as France headed into harvest, 77% of the French wheat crop was rated in this condition.

Noteworthy concerns for the French barley crop have also arisen over the last week or so – storms and heavy rain have affected central/northern crops and we are just beginning to see some signs of deterioration within the barley.

Various French crop tours have since confirmed incidents of lodging and significant disease pressure within winter barley crops.

Spring barley crops could also be affected as the majority of crops were in their crucial flowering stages when the worst of the rain arrived at the beginning of June – this will be worth monitoring over the next couple of weeks.